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June 23, 2023

Mazda's Rotary Engine Rolls Off Assembly Line Once More

Eleven years after Mazda discontinued the RX-8, the rotary engine is back into production. At the carmaker’s Ujina Plant No. 1, the MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV has started rolling off the assembly line destined for the European market. This will, no doubt, add to the cumulative 1.99 million rotary engine vehicles produced by Mazda thus far.

Compared to the RX-8 and even the RX-7 before it, the MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) that gives new purpose to Mazda’s rotary engine. This compact, lightweight internal combustion engine drives a generator that either charges the battery or provides additional power if needed. The vehicle is always driven by the electric motor.

Mazda selected the rotary powerplant because it can produce the required output from a small, lightweight, and easily packaged unit.

The new 8C rotary engine is a single-motor unit with a 120 mm rotor radius and 76 mm rotor width. It has an overall width of less than 840 mm allowing it to fit under the hood without any changes to the MX-30’s body frame. The 830-cc makes 74 horsepower and is over 15 kilograms lighter than the previous Renesis used in the RX-8. Furthermore, it uses direct fuel injection and Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) for improved efficiency and emissions. In fact, it produces just 21 g/km of CO2 per driving.

While the MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV’s 17.8-kWh battery and 85-kilometer battery electric driving range is sufficient for most daily driving needs, the rotary engine extends the driving range to 600 kilometers thanks to a 50-liter fuel tank. This makes this compact crossover ideal for people who’d like to drive electrically most of the time and travel longer distances occasionally without range anxiety.

The MX-30 embodies Mazda’s multi-solution approach to move towards carbon neutrality. Natural products like cork and fabrics made from recycled material were adopted in the design process. The MX-30’s multitone paint is applied with a high-precision spray gun that spreads the individual colors precisely onto the surface where they are needed and significantly reduces paint loss. Moreover, the newly developed paints harden at an unusually low temperature of approximately 80 degrees Celsius. Together, these steps reduce CO2 emissions of the multi-tone painting process by approximately 34 to 37 percent.

In July, a 1.1-MW solar power system went operational at Mazda’s Hiroshima plant supply clean energy to charge the MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV vehicles before shipment.

Compatibility with both AC charging and rapid DC charging is another benefit, meaning 3-phase AC charging takes around 50 minutes, while for maximum customer flexibility, DC rapid charging can be completed in around 25 minutes. The Mazda MX-30 R-EV has three drive-modes to suit different driving situations: Normal, EV and Charge, and thanks to a 170 horsepower, 260 Nm motor, it delivers slightly better acceleration performance than the 145 horsepower fully electric MX-30.

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