Rotary Is Back (Sort of): Mazda Hybrid With Rotary Range Extender
For all fans of rotary engines in cars, there is something special about them. There is a true cult following for fans of these engines. And Mazda offered these rotary cars for years until they discontinued them for consumer vehicles in 2012.
Since then, rotary enthusiasts have waited patiently for a new model. When Mazda announced a potential reintroduction of the engine, fans were thrilled. Finally, a newer line of vehicles brings back this coveted engine design!
Despite the excitement, unfortunately, the reality is not quite here yet. But there is some light shining a beacon of hope for rotary fans.
The rotary engine has returned to some extent. However, it is equipped as a range extender for hybrid electric SUVs. This means that the additional setup is only included to further the range of an EV as a hybrid setup.
While the news was somewhat disappointing, the fact that a rotary engine has returned to Mazda in any capacity brings some excitement. This post will get to the heart of this new Mazda setup, including a brief history of the engine and when they will become available for Australian markets.
History of Mazda’s Rotary Engines
Rotary engines have enjoyed a long and celebrated history within Mazda.
First licensed to Mazda in the 1960s, rotary engines offered a distinct advantage over traditional engines in their smaller form factor and high power output. As a result, the design was especially popular with kit car enthusiasts and hot rod builders.
Rather than pistons, these engines use rotors which can help boost engine performance in several different ways:
• Less Stress on Engine Mechanics
• Higher Efficiency Engine Cycles
• Improved Compression
• Less Vehicle Vibration
The power-to-performance and size of these engines offered valuable real estate in tight engines built for power and speed in small spaces. While not the most fuel-efficient, most builders who use rotary are more interested in the performance and space these engines provide.
About Mazda Rotary Range Extenders
First patented way back in 2018, Mazda developed a method to side mount a rotary engine for use as an EV’s range extender. The engine’s smaller size is ideal for equipping as a range extender — ideally mounted under the floor of the rear cargo area.
Mazda teased releases featuring this design for several years after the initial patent. However, they did not materialise into any available vehicles. That all changed in 2022 with the announcement of the MX-30 EV SUV with Rotary Range Extender.
About 2022 Mazda MX-30 Rotary Hybrid
The addition of the rotary engine provides extra charging potential and a better range than other electric options.
The rotary engine offers efficient power in cases where an electric vehicle may struggle. This could include extra miles at the end of a battery charge. It can also provide added power in higher strain situations like hilly landscapes.
When Does Australia Get the Rotary?
While the release of the range extender MX-30 has had a shaky start due to supply chain issues, there is some good news for Australian buyers.
Mazda representatives remain hopeful that the MX-30 range-extender rotary will be released by the end of 2022. But, of course, those same supply issues impacting its global release may further affect its Australian production. With that in mind, buyers may not see any available SUVs until some time in 2023.
Although it’s no “proper” rotary vehicle, the rotary-equipped hybrid breathes some new life into the technology. For enthusiasts who never say die to rotary, this keeps the beacon lit for what Mazda puts out into the future.