A battery car with a generator? A more sophisticated plug-in hybrid? Or maybe an electric gasoline car? At first, we didn’t know where to place the new Mazda MX-30 R-EV. The engineers told us at the first meeting that it is a plug-in hybrid, but with a whole range of unusual technological solutions. So long that the domestic Mazda representative even prepared a separate workshop for them.

And why an electric car on gasoline? This plug-in hybrid didn’t come about in the standard way of adding an electric motor, battery and charging plug to a conventional car… But quite the opposite! It is an electric car retrofitted with an internal combustion engine. In addition, for the first time since the RX-8 sports car, a Wankel appears in the bowels of the Japanese manufacturer! However, it does not fulfill the traditional role of an internal combustion engine… You can probably guess by now that very few things in the Mazda MX-30 have remained conventional. Come and get to know each other.

It doesn’t drive, it generates

The Wankel in the crossover works exclusively as an electric power generator, so there is no direct connection to the spinning front axle. Internally designated 8C, the novelty has atmospheric filling, direct fuel injection and a single spark plug. And also a single rotor with a volume of 830 cm³, whereas the former RX-8 had two rotors with a volume of 653 cm³.

Photo: Mazda

First, a technical note from Mazda experts – it is not a rotary engine, as it is often incorrectly written (this type of radial engine would be found in airplanes), but an engine with a rotating piston.

The Wankel itself has 75 horsepower, the entire system reaches a system output of 170 horsepower and 260 newton meters of torque. The mixture of air and fuel is evenly distributed around the spark plug to achieve more efficient combustion. Sufficient evaporation of the fuel at a lower temperature then prevents its excessive injection. Thanks to the optimization of the shape of the combustion chamber, efficient combustion was achieved, for example due to the high flow rate.

Photo: Mazda

The side cover of the engine is made of aluminum instead of iron, saving over 15 kilograms. The surface of the cover has been treated with a cermet thermal spray and the Wankel is also equipped with a stronger seal.

Fast charging of a small battery

Charged and generated energy is stored in a 17.8kWh battery. It is therefore exactly half the size of the purely electric MX-30. The weight saved on the battery is compensated by the additional technology described above, so that the curb weight of the car remains at the same 1645 kilograms. And the range? With a full tank (we’ll get to that later) and a charged battery over 600 kilometers, i.e. significantly more than the original two hundred electric car.

Photo: Mazda

The drive with a charged battery is the most efficient. In this case, it consumes approximately 1.0 l and 17.5 kWh per 100 kilometers. After emptying it, the consumption logically increases – eight to nine liters in the districts, over eleven on the highway.

In order to achieve economical operation, it is a good idea to charge the battery regularly. Fortunately, the Mazda MX-30 R-EV still maintains DC fast charging with a power of up to 36 kW (the electric version can do 50 kW), which is not standard for plug-in hybrids. You can top it up from twenty to eighty percent in about 25 minutes. But even with the slower 11kW AC charging, it’s not terrible, in which case it will be “touched up” in 50 minutes, i.e. one big family purchase.

Full tank

An electrified drive usually means a smaller fuel tank. It is assumed that you will recharge the car regularly and that the drive will sip gasoline only now and then. However, Mazda did not count on that, so you can fill up 50 liters of natural gas in the MX-30! For example, Renault Captur holds 39 liters, Kia Niro 37 liters, Mini Countryman even thirty-six liters. This greatly helps the Mazda MX-30 R-EV with a standard range of over 600 kilometers (it should manage 85 km on electricity alone).

That all that technology is also significantly reflected in the purchase price? No way, the plug-in hybrid Mazda MX-30 basically costs the same as the electric alternative, i.e. 949,000 CZK. It’s still no joke, after all, we’re talking about a small, primarily urban crossover, but today, thanks to Wankel, it’s significantly more usable than before.