New Mazda MX-30 R-EV rotary range-extender revealed in full

The plug-in hybrid version of the MX-30 coupe-SUV arrives this summer with prices to start from £31,250

Mazda MX-30 R-EV

The Mazda MX-30’s 124-mile range has always been one of the electric coupe-SUV’s shortcomings, as rivals like the Vauxhall Mokka Electric and Hyundai Kona Electric can cover over 200 miles on a charge with ease. But instead of increasing the size of MX-30’s battery, Mazda has gone a very different route and created a plug-in hybrid, range-extender version. 

The MX-30 R-EV uses an all-new 830cc rotary engine to act solely as a generator when the 17.8kWh battery runs low on juice. While most engines use circular pistons that move up and down, a rotary engine uses triangular-shaped pistons that rotate around a central shaft, or In the case of the MX-30 R-EV, a single piston. 

The R-EV’s battery alone offers a range of 53 miles when fully charged – or 68 miles if you’re driving in town – but Mazda says you’ll need to cover over 373 miles before the 50-litre petrol tank is drained, too. That’s three times the range of the electric MX-30, while CO2 emissions stand at just 21g/km. 

Unlike the majority of plug-in hybrids, the R-EV can charge at up to 36kW from a DC rapid charger. At that rate, a 20-80% top-up will take 25 minutes, while a 7.4kW home wallbox will fully replenish the battery in around an hour and a half.

In the R-EV, the front wheels are driven by a single electric motor, which produces 168bhp and 260Nm of torque. According to Mazda, the setup can deliver “a seamless EV driving experience” and 0-62mph in 9.1 seconds. 

There are three driving modes to choose from: Normal, EV and Charge. In Normal you won’t wake the rotary engine if there’s enough charge in the battery or until you need more power than the battery can deliver, when you’re accelerating for example, then it will kick in and supply the battery with more energy.

EV mode is for when you want to stick with pure-electric driving as long as possible, or until the battery is fully depleted. At which point, or if you press the accelerator hard enough, the engine will activate. Finally, Charge mode will keep a certain amount of charge back for situations as such driving through low emissions zones. The engine will then activate when the battery charge drops below the specified reserve level, charge the battery to that level again and then maintain it.

The cabin is largely unchanged, however the addition of a fuel tank has reduced boot capacity slightly, from 360/1,171 litres (seats up/down) in the electric MX-30 to 350 litres and 1,155 litres for the R-EV.

The MX-30 R-EV is available to order now, with the first examples due to arrive in the UK this summer. There are four trim levels offered at launch: Prime-Line, Exclusive-Line, Makoto and Edition R. The latter is exclusive to the R-EV model, with only 400 examples coming to the UK. All models feature a rotor badge on the front wings and unique wheel designs to distinguish them from the electric versions.

The R-EV Edition R also comes with ‘Maroon Rouge’ accents, with the colour paying homage to the painted roof of Mazda’s first passenger car. Inside, the front seat headrests are embossed with the rotary symbol and Edition R name, and some other nods to the rotary engine under the bonnet.

The R-EV in Prime-Line and Exclusive-Line spec start from £31,250 – exactly the same as the pure-electric version. Meanwhile, the Makoto R-EV is priced at £34,800 – £450 more expensive than the EV – and finally, the top-of-the-range Edition R comes in at £37,950.

Mazda intends to launch three new electric cars by 2025, all based on a new platform called the Skyactiv EV Scalable Architecture. The Japanese brand is also aiming to completely electrify its range by 2030, though for the time being the MX-30 remains the brand’s first and only zero-emissions model on sale.

Read our full Mazda MX-30 review – including our experience of living with one for several months – to find out more about the electric coupe-SUV.

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