When Mazda unveiled its electric MX-30 crossover in late 2019, eyebrows were raised over its RX-8-style “freestyle” rear doors, its e-SkyActiv electric drivetrain, and its relatively funky styling—but we were less impressed when we learned that it didn’t look like Mazda had plans of bringing it to the U.S. Well, we can now bury that disappointment because the company now confirmed that the MX-30 is coming Stateside as both a pure EV and a rotary range-extended plug-in hybrid.
Yep, the Wankel is back.
The news first hit the airwaves when Mazda North America president Jeff Guyton spoke to The Detroit Bureau, responding to a question about the company’s electrification plans. “We have launched the MX-30 in Europe, which is our first battery-electric vehicle. And we will be making that product available in the future with a rotary range extender. Any chance of it coming to the U.S.? Yes, it will, though we haven’t talked about the date publicly yet,” said Guyton. The Mazda boss went on to say the rotary range extender version is part of the company’s plans before adding, “For the U.S. market, the range-extender option would be more appropriate.”
We reached out to a Mazda spokesperson who confirmed the news. “We can confirm we will bring our first electric vehicle, the MX-30, to the U.S. market,” the spokesperson stated in an email. “The vehicle will be available as both a fully electric model and a series plug-in-hybrid, featuring a rotary engine.”
While any return of Mazda’s spinning-Dorito motor is an occasion that should be celebrated, it doesn’t sound like the MX-30’s rotary will actually be used to power the wheels very often, if ever. It is billed as a range extender, it will likely only be used to charge the electric battery. Speaking of, Mazda’s electric crossover uses a 35.5-kWh floor-mounted, refrigerant-cooled battery to deliver 124 miles of range on the WLTP cycle using electricity only.
Okay, so it’s not the rear-wheel-drive RX sports car we all hoped the rotary would make its big comeback in. But, y’know, baby steps. Look at it this way: if or when (but definitely when) the MX-30 hybrid’s apex seals eventually go, at least you’ll have the electric motor to fall back on and take you home.
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