Published on January 16th, 2023 | by Subhash Nair0
Mazda MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV Debuts With Rotary Generator And Plug-In Charging
A rotary engine as generator pushes the Mazda MX-30’s range from 199km to 600km.
The Mazda MX-30 is the company’s first venture into battery electric vehicles. While the design and drive of the car certainly impressed, many noted its poor range of 199km on a full charge. Today, Mazda redeems itself with a new version of vehicle complete with a range-extending rotary engine generator and plug-in capabilities for faster range recovery. With these two added technologies, the Mazda MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV has an triple the driving range – 600km!
The New e-Skyactiv R-EV Powertrain
The Mazda MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV is actually a pretty ingenious package. The most expensive single component in any electric vehicle is the traction battery. By using a range extender, Mazda is able to reduce the size of that battery to just 17.8kWh. A battery of this size without the rotary range extender would only return about 85km of range on a full charge.
Rotary Engine As Generator
With a new ‘8C’ 830cc rotary motor serving as a generator and a 50 litre fuel tank, the range goes all the way up to 600km which is about what the best production electric vehicles can offer these days. This tiny rotary engine has no mechanical connection whatsoever to the wheels, so the system is no dissimilar to Nissan’s e-Power system but with the inherent smoothness of a rotary wankel motor. What’s more, the whole system produces just 21g of CO2 per km – less than half the emissions of a standard plug-in hybrid like the BMW 330e.
The rotary engine is measures just 120mm by 76mm, allowing it to be packaged right next to the electric motor, decelerator and generator in a package that’s just 840mm wide. The whole assembly fits under the bonnet in the same MX-30 body frame without modifications.
The 8C motor’s aluminium construction makes it 15kg lighter than the last twin-rotor Renesis engine that went into the RX-8. This latest production rotary features direct injection and Exhaust Gas Recirculation for better emissions and fuel efficiency.
Plug-in Capabilities For Zero Emissions Driving
If that weren’t enough, Mazda also built plug-in hybrid capabilities into the MX-30 R-EV for those looking for short distance zero emissions driving. Thanks to its tiny battery, AC charging takes just 50 minutes while DC Fast Charging can be completed in 25 minutes.
Improved Driving Character
As another added bonus, this version of the MX-30 is slightly better in terms of acceleration than the fully-electric version thanks to an electric motor output of 166PS and 260Nm of torque. Three drive modes – Normal, EV and Charge allow for some flexibility in driving style though the maximum vehicle speed is not affected by which mode is selected. Here’s how the drive modes work on the Mazda MX-30 R-EV:
Normal mode delivers electric drive as long as there’s enough battery charge. If more power is required than the battery can deliver, then the rotary engine generator will activate based on the degree of accelerator pedal depression.
EV Mode sets the car in pure battery electric driving until the battery is completely drained. Only when the driver needs to accelerate suddenly and purposefully beyond a certain point will the rotary engine be activated for maximum power. This is comparable to the kickdown function in a standard automatic transmission vehicle.
In Charge Mode, the user can have the rotary engine maintain a certain amount of battery charge. When the battery charge exceeds that level, the car effectively operates in Normal mode until it depletes back to the specified level.