After what feels like countless news stories anticipating its return, the rotary engine is officially back as a backup generator for the new Mazda MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV. Whereas the regular MX-30 is a pure EV, the presence of the gas-powered Wankel in the R-EV makes it an electric car with a range extender.
Here are the baseline details. Electric-only driving range comes in at just 53 miles on the European WLTP cycle (even scanter than the often-criticized 100-mile MX-30 EV), reflecting a much smaller battery—17.8 kWh versus the EV's 32.0 kWh. The rotary range extender makes up for this, of course, with a 13.2-gallon fuel tank.
The car also boasts a "1,500-watt power supply functionality" that reads to me as a laptop-charging V2L situation. Three drive modes can be selected: Normal is, er normal, EV mode presumably deactivates the rotary for emissions-free driving, and Charge presumably fires up the rotary full time to juice up the battery.
A special edition of the R-EV called the Edition R will get a cool black-and-red color scheme. The specific red used, Maroon Rouge Metallic, is said to be a "remake" of the red that appeared on the roof of the R360 Coupe, Mazda's first passenger car. Also tipping its cap to Mazda's history is the new rotary badge that can be seen on the floor mats, headrests, and on the fenders.
The Mazda MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV will be coming to Europe, but U.S. availability is currently up in the air.
For those unaware, the rotary is an engine that uses a very unique design. Instead of pistons, a Dorito-like triangle spins inside of an ovoid, providing combustion. While Mazda did not invent it—that accomplishment belongs to one Felix Wankel, a man who I'd avoid Googling if you're the sort of person who has trouble separating art from the artist—the rotary arguably found its most famous application under the hood if the company's sports cars. The RX-8, multiple generations of RX7, and even the Le Mans-winning 787B were all powered by a spinning tortilla chip.
Got a tip or question for the author about the rotary MX-30? You can reach him here: firstname.lastname@example.org