Innovative, smooth-running, challenging – the possibilities and limitations of the rotary engine have always fascinated the automotive industry. What better brand to make them a success than Mazda? With a past full of envelope-pushing rotary models under their belt, Mazda now takes the technology in a bold new direction. With the Mazda MX-30 R-EV, the first-ever PHEV with a rotary engine power generator.
‘A new era’, ‘the powertrain of the future’: These are some of the ways in which the trade media expressed their initial euphoria over the German invention of the Wankel engine. Incidentally, they could just as well be used to describe the latest innovation in rotary technology, the Mazda MX-30 R-EV. Premiered in 2023, the model marks the first return of this engine type to the brand’s production cars in eight years. In the form of a power generator, a 50l fuel tank recharges the battery of this PHEV while driving, extending the range to up to 680 kilometres without the need to charge or refuel. This latest breakthrough, however, is only the latest instalment in a decades-long history between Mazda and rotary engines – an infatuation that dates back as far as 1961.