Mazda's preference for doing things differently has delivered a plug-in hybrid that doesn't need plugging in
By Matt Bird / Friday, 13 January 2023 / Loading comments
Mazda can always be relied on to do things a little differently, and confirmation of the MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV’s spec is further proof of that. It combines a 17.8kWh battery, an 830cc single rotor rotary engine and a 166hp electric motor to create a series plug-in hybrid like no other. Don’t forget the freestyle doors like an RX-8, too…
The new rotary engine is more than 15kg lighter than the twin-rotor used in the old coupe, with technology like direct fuel injection to improve fuel economy and an exhaust gas recirculation valve that will boost efficiency at low load running. Perhaps most relevant for this application, the motor is absolutely tiny. With a 120mm radius and 76mm width for the rotor, it can be incorporated with the electric motor under the bonnet in a package less than 840mm wide. Consequently, no changes have been made from the pure electric MX-30 body to incorporate the range extender powertrain.
The rotary unit only ever serves as a generator for the electric motor, much as the 650cc bike engine did in the old BMW i3 REx. Its 50-litre fuel tank means a theoretical range of more than 400 miles, way ahead of the 124 miles of the standard car. In its pure electric mode, the R-EV has a 53-mile range, and overall CO2 is rated at 21g/km. The battery can be charged via AC or DC charging, with a best-case rapid charge of a full battery taking 25 minutes.
Though slightly up on power against the 145hp MX-30 EV, the new model has a little less torque (192lb ft against 200) and while we await a kerbweight figure, we expect comparable performance from the R-EV – meaning 0-62mph in 9.7 seconds, and a top speed of 87mph.
There are Normal, EV and Charge drive modes for the e-Skyactiv R-EV. The first keeps the MX-30 electric as much as possible, though can wake the engine up if there’s a call for more battery power; EV will only use electric until it absolutely can’t; and Charge will keep a set amount of juice in the battery (the driver can choose the amount) if, say, there’s a zero-emission zone at the end of the journey.
In the UK, specs for the R-EV will mirror those already in place, with both the Prime Line (£31,250) and Exclusive Line (£33,150) priced identically to the BEV model. The Makoto is £450 more than the battery-powered car, at £36,000. Mazda UK will also be receiving 400 examples of the Edition R, which sounds like a souped-up RX-7 from the early 2000s, with Jet Black paint and Maroon Rouge accents that pay homage to the old R360. There are rotary symbols everywhere, too, from the headrests to the key, and – get this – the mats feature both the symbol and a single stitched white line of 2.6mm. Because the rotor apex seal grooves are 2.6mm wide. God bless you, Mazda – that sort of touch must be worth £37,950 on its own. The MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV is on sale now, with the first cars due in the UK this summer.
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