The new Mazda MX-30 R-EV plug-in hybrid heralds the renaissance of the rotary engine, and it’s a neat alternative for drivers who want an EV but need more range.
Unveiled at the 2023 Brussels Motor Show, the new Mazda MX-30 R-EV is available to order now, with prices starting from £31,250 – the exact same as the all-electric Mazda MX-30 EV.
With a range of 53 miles on electric power alone, the rotary engine and 50-litre petrol tank give the new Mazda MX-30 R-EV a total range of more than 370 miles.
That’s much better than the Mazda MX-30 EV’s 124 miles of range.
UK deliveries kicked off in the summer to celebrate the return of the rotary engine with the debut Mazda MX-30 R-EV Edition R. It features unique rotor-inspired detailing and costs £37,895.
Mazda MX-30 R-EV: Extended range
The Mazda MX-30 R-EV doesn’t use a 35.5kWh battery 17.8kWh battery – Exactly half the size. This saves both weight and cost.
However, because the rotary engine is so compact, Mazda has been able to fit an 830cc single-rotor petrol engine in the engine bay along with the generator and electric motor.
It’s so compact and lightweight that the Mazda MX-30 R-EV plug-in hybrid weighs almost the same as the pure electric version.
What’s more, the rotary engine only acts as a generator, producing electricity to power the electric motor.
There is no mechanical connection between the engine and the wheels, meaning the MX-30 R-EV always feels smooth and responsive electronic car drive.
What’s more, acceleration is quicker thanks to a system power output of 170hp rather than the electric version’s 145hp: 0-62mph takes 9.1 seconds.
For those who want to stick with battery power, the 53 miles of electric-only range can be boosted via a 50kW DC charger, with a 20-80% charge in 25 minutes.
There are three driving modes. Normal stays in EV mode for as long as possible, but turns on the engine when the driver needs more power than the battery can provide.
Meanwhile, EV mode uses power until the battery is depleted. Charge mode saves power for later in 10% increments.
Mazda MX-30 R-EV: The tax-friendly option
In the official WLTP fuel consumption test, the new Mazda MX-30 R-EV averaged 282.5mpg.
Of course, as with all plug-in hybrid, this number is meaningless. But it does result in CO2 emissions of just 21g/km, which is certainly not the case. It equates to the same 2% gain-in-kind tax rate as the pure electric version.
This means a lot to drivers of cars with high mileage companies – since the sticker price is the same, they will pay the exact same amount of tax.
For those who can’t yet use electric vehicles, the new Mazda MX-30 R-EV is an excellent fuel-efficient stepping stone with the long range that high-mileage fleet drivers need.
Mazda MX-30 R-EV: The Return of the Rotary
Mazda has been manufacturing rotary engines for more than 50 years. The concept is a central part of the company’s DNA, and its ingenious engineers jumped at the chance to bring it back a decade after the last rotary-engined Mazda RX-8 sports car was produced.
Rotary engines are not only extremely compact, but also extremely smooth – meaning the vibration-free silence of an electric car is not compromised even when the engine is running.
The new Mazda MX-30 R-EV features an 830cc single-rotor engine; this is in contrast to the 654cc twin-rotor unit found in the RX-8.
It’s a very compact powerplant, with a package width of just under 840mm when combined with the electric motor and generator – so it can use the same body-on-frame as the Mazda MX-30 EV.
Because it’s used purely as a generator, as a series hybrid it also doesn’t need a gearbox, further saving weight.
The new Mazda MX-30 R-EV engine uses direct fuel injection for improved efficiency and emissions, and an exhaust gas recirculation system.
Mazda also insists that the rotor tip seals are extremely wear-resistant, while the sides of the rotor housings are plasma sprayed to reduce wear and friction.
Mazda MX-30 R-EV Edition R
The special edition Mazda MX-30 R-EV Edition R has custom badging depicting the rotor with the letter “e” in orange. It also features unique Maroon Rouge Metallic jambs on top of a black base colour.
The Edition R’s key fob has a horizontal edge that is bent at the same angle as the sides of the rotor – while the engraved slide is 2.5mm wide, the same as the rotor tip seal. It has a gloss finish and is also marked with the Edition R rotor logo.
The seat headrests and floor mats also bear the Edition R badging.
Mazda MX-30 R-EV price
The entry-level Mazda MX-30 R-EV costs the same as the Mazda MX-30 EV.
It does cost a bit more when you step up to the top-spec Makato model, but the difference is less than £500 – as this version comes standard with an adapter allowing owners to power the unit via a three-pin plug.
There are three core trim levels, as well as a limited-edition R launch model, as detailed below:
- Mazda MX-30 R-EV Prime-Line: £31,250
- Mazda MX-30 R-EV Exclusive Collection: £33,150
- Mazda MX-30 R-EV Makato: £36,000
- Mazda MX-30 R-EV Edition R: £37,950
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