Mazda officially announced that a new powertrain option for the MX-30 model will be unveiled at the upcoming Brussels Motor Show later this week.
As we know, the Mazda MX-30 is an all-electric model, which from the beginning was designed to accommodate an optional installation of a range-extender internal combustion engine and a generator (with all of the necessary systems).
The initial battery electric version had a relatively small battery pack of only 35.5 kilowatt-hours (kWh), which, according to the EPA, is enough only for 100 miles (161 kilometers).
As we understand, Mazda's intention for the MX-30 is to satisfy the basic transportation needs with the BEV and offer a range-extender version for those who need two or three times more range.
Gallery: Mazda MX-30
Rotary Engine Reborn for the Electric Age
Mazda decided to use in the range-extender version (R-EV or REx if you wish) a rotary engine, which the Japanese have the know-how (but mostly from the past, as it was retired from use).
The rotary engine has advantages in size and weight for a certain power level but is not as efficient as other, more popular engine types. So it's a perfect fit for a vehicle that needs a backup to use from time to time. When used only rarely (the vehicle will drive on electricity most of the time), lower efficiency is not an issue, while less weight is a big advantage every day.
This is why Mazda decided to use an electric generator powered by a newly-developed rotary engine and announced it as the "Rotary Engine Reborn for the Electric Age."
What we know for now is that the REx version will be "an option" and that the vehicle will retain plug-in capability (external charging). In other words, it will be a rechargeable series-hybrid powertrain. That's important because there are also series hybrids without charging capability, like the Nissan e-Power systems. Mazda's system reminds us of the BMW i3 REx (but probably with more power).
Expected Mazda MX-30 offering:
- optional range-extender version (REx)
(plug-in hybrid system in series-hybrid configuration)
an additional electric generator powered by a newly-developed rotary engine (gasoline)
We guess that the total range of the vehicle with a range-extender will be doubled or tripled (100-200 miles higher) to make any sense. We will see what the added cost is.
The unveiling is scheduled for January 13. Mazda said also that as far as Europe is concerned, the plug-in hybrid powertrain will be available from the Spring of this year.
We don't know much about other markets yet. Let's note that in the US, sales of the all-electric Mazda MX-30 came to and end in July after just 324 deliveries.