This is not the rotary revival we wanted.
Mazda has confirmed that it will present a rotary-engined MX-30 EV this week at the Brussels Motor Show. However, before we get too excited that the rotary will be supplying propulsion, it will be the long-awaited range-extender rotary to extend the dismal all-electric range on Mazda's first and only dedicated BEV.
In the short release, Mazda says the plug-in hybrid MX-30 will go on sale in Europe in the spring with the rotary engine as an electric generator. This won't be like the 13B of old found in the RX-7 and RX-8, but rather an all-new engine expected to be much smaller in displacement and possibly with only a single-rotor design.
The official reveal will take place on January 13th at Mazda's stand, which is when we'll find out all the details. However, we expect some interesting innovations to be announced. Recent patent documentation discovered by CarBuzz revealed how a small electric motor on the driveshaft of the rotary engine would be able to slightly retard or accelerate the rotation of the rotor momentarily to lengthen the intake stroke and mimic the concept of variable valve timing for rotary application.
Accompanying the new powertrain will be a new logo, which is one of several logos discovered in 2021. At the time, Mazda trademarked "e-SKYACTIV R-Energy," "e-SKYACTIV R-HEV," and "e-SKYACTIV R-EV," so it's likely one of these will be used as the official model suffix for the new powertrain.
Rumors surrounding the revival of the rotary engine have been swirling for years, with die-hard fans adamant that a sports car was in the works. This notion was supported by multiple patents from Mazda showcasing a triple-rotor sports car, and Mazda's own bigwigs continually spoke of how the engine has a special place in the hearts of those who work at the automaker.
As for the MX-30 with a rotary range extender, Mazda has long-teased a range-extender version. Last year, Mazda execs confirmed the rotary range extender would be coming to America. This is an important move from Mazda, as the paltry 100-mile EPA driving range is not enough for the American audience. That explains the dismal 324 units sold during 2022 on US soil.