The automaker has a decision to make.
The Mazda MX-30 is unlike all other plug-in hybrids thanks to its rotary engine range extender technology. Mazda is synonymous with rotary engines dating back decades. Some of its best creations, like the RX-7, were rotary-powered, but using this engine tech only as a range extender generator hasn't been done before, hence our excitement. Alas, Automotive News reports Mazda has decided to delay the vehicle's launch originally planned for sometime in the first half of 2022.
"We are still considering using rotary engine as a range extender, but the timing of its introduction is undecided," company spokesperson said. Honestly, that doesn't sound very reassuring and here's why.
An all-electric version of the funky crossover arrived last year but it's only for Europe and Japan. Mazda's home market also has a mild hybrid variant. On the WLTP testing cycle, the pure EV returns 124 miles of a range on a single charge. Bear in mind the EPA's testing procedures are stricter so that figure would likely be less in the US, hence the reason for the plug-in range extender.
So what's with the sudden uncertainty? The report says local Japanese media has learned that the range extender requires a larger and heavier battery that's also more expensive to produce and therefore sell.
In other words, the MX-30 rotary range extender PHEV may turn out to be too pricy and customers could balk. A final decision on the matter will have to be made soon. Fortunately, this doesn't mean Mazda's use of the rotary has been completely scrapped. The engine tech can still be utilized as a power-assist technology for series plug-ins and hybrids. Using this method will enable to reduce the battery size and that'll translate to lower costs.
If all goes to plan, these vehicles, which have yet to be announced save for the MX-30, are expected between 2022 and 2025. The reborn rotary saga continues.