Mazda begins production of hybrid MX-30 with rotary engine

Jet Sanchez
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Following an announcement in January, Mazda's rotary engine has returned after an 11-year absence, commencing production at the automaker's Ujina plant in Hiroshima.

Of course, the new engine will make its way inside the MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV. It's quite a mouthful, but Mazda hopes the tech it's packing into this SUV will distract you from the name.

The new MX-30 is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) with an electric-only driving range of 85km. The 54-kW, 830cc rotary engine will only serve as a range extender, having no mechanical connection to the drivetrain.

It's essentially a series hybrid, similar to the Nissan Kicks, except that one isn't a plug-in model. The MX-30 features a more substantial 17.8 kWh battery pack that enables connector-based charging. On the road, the rotary engine can recharge the battery and extend the electric range using petrol and a 50-litre gas tank.

Mazda has reportedly produced and sold 1.99 million vehicles equipped with rotary engines since its inception. Could it surpass the 2-million mark with this latest model? Only time will tell.

There's no word on whether this PHEV will reach New Zealand, but we don't see the need, as the all-electric MX-30 has been available in the country for some time now. The Mazda MX-30 Takami starts at $68,590.

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