The 2021 Mazda MX-30 electric vehicle will receive a rotary engine as a range-extender, the company has confirmed.
Range-extenders are used like petrol generators: rather than being directly connected to the wheels via a transmission, the engine's output is used to replenish the batteries when charge is depleted – which would be after approximately 200km of driving, in the case of the MX-30.
The unique design of the rotary engine lends itself to being used as a range-extender, as its well-documented shortcomings – being lack of torque, fuel consumption, and long-term reliability – play far less of a role when being utilised as an electricity generator, running at a steady state.
Mazda first debuted the idea of a rotary range-extender in late 2013, fitting it to an electric Mazda 2 hatch prototype.
The compact 0.33-litre single-rotor engine produced up to 28kW, and while the power output may be low, the engine's job is only to deliver electricity to the battery pack and electric motor.
A spokesperson for Mazda Australia told CarAdvice: "The announcement in Japan around this engine being applied in future is the culmination of this undying belief in the rotary’s unique architecture".
"Mazda Corporation has continued to develop the engine since the RX-8 finished production, with applications including ‘range extender’ in prototypes," the spokesperson said.
A decision on whether the MX-30 would be offered in Australia was expected by the middle of this year, but an announcement on the model has been pushed to the end of 2020.