Having made its European debut at the Brussels Motor Show in January, the unique Mazda MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV series plug-in hybrid joins the pure electric Mazda MX-30 e-Skyactiv and Mazda CX-60 PHEV in Mazda’s electrified line-up.
The Mazda MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV is a series plug-in hybrid that offers the same customer values as the pure electric Mazda MX-30, while simultaneously offering new ways of using a car as a battery electric vehicle. With a 17.8kWh battery, the R-EV has a 53-mile pure electric range, and using Mazda’s unique rotary engine technology, the all-new 830cc single-rotor petrol engine acts as a generator to enable longer distance drives without range or charging anxiety. With no mechanical connection between the engine and the wheels, the rotary unit simply acts as a generator, ensuring the MX-30 R-EV always drives via the electric motor to deliver a seamless EV driving experience.
With more than half a century of expertise in the development of rotary engines, Mazda selected the rotary powerplant for this application due to its unique ability to produce the required output from a small, light and easily packaged unit. The rotary engine is placed neatly alongside the generator and high-output motor in the engine bay. The combination of the 17.8kWh battery and 50-litre fuel tank create a unique series plug-in hybrid with a flexible total range of over 400 miles, while a WLTP CO2 output of just 21g/km ensures class-leading environmental performance.
Compatibility with both AC charging and rapid DC charging is another benefit, meaning 3-phase AC charging takes around 50mins, 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 125kW/170ps output, it delivers slightly better acceleration performance than the 145ps fully electric MX-30.
Offered in the same highly specified grades as the all-electric e-Skyactiv MX-30: Prime-Line, Exclusive-Line and Makoto – the Mazda MX-30 R-EV is in UK dealerships now. Revealed as the show star at the Brussels Motor Show in January 2023, the limited-edition Mazda MX-30 R-EV Edition R has sold out in the UK, but some early order UK customers will be taking delivery of this rare launch model.
All versions of the Mazda MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV feature a rotor badge on the front wings and an e-Skyactiv R-EV badge on the tailgate. Unique wheels differentiate the R-EV: Prime-Line with a dark grey finish and Exclusive-Line and Makoto a black/silver diamond cut finish.
Between the launch of the Mazda Cosmo in 1967 and production of the RX-8 ending in 2012, Mazda mass-produced close to 2 million rotary engines. Adapted to meet the needs of our times the rotary engine is now back being used as a power generator rather than a drive unit. The new 8C rotary engine is an 830cc single rotor with a 120mm rotor radius and 76mm rotor width, its compact size enables coaxial placement and integration with the electric motor, decelerator and generator to achieve a unit with an overall width of less than 840mm, allowing it to fit under the bonnet without changes to the MX-30 body frame.
Thanks to the use of aluminum the engine is over 15kg lighter than the twin-rotor Renesis engine used in the RX-8. The use of direct fuel injection reduces emissions and increases fuel economy, while the engine also features an Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system to improve efficiency at low RPM and low load running. With a 50-litre fuel tank the rotary generator allows for long-distance travel without the need for regular fuel station stops.
A 17.8kWh battery was chosen to ensure enough capacity for a 53-mile electric-only driving range while at the same time considering the environmental impact of the battery over the entire vehicle lifecycle. The MX-30 R-EV’s high output 125kW/170ps electric motor can produce up to 260Nm of torque, while the new R-EV retains the same relaxed, accurate and engaging driving experience as the pure-electric MX-30.
The MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV features three driving modes: Normal, EV and Charge, however the choice of mode does not affect maximum vehicle speed. Normal mode delivers electric drive as long as there’s enough battery charge. If more power is required than the battery level can deliver – for example, when accelerating – the rotary engine generator will activate based on the degree of accelerator opening and supply the battery with more power. Thus, the MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV delivers outstanding acceleration performance and ensures drivers can always enjoy the car.
Drivers can turn EV mode on when they want to stay in electric drive for as long as possible. This mode will ensure the vehicle uses electric drive exclusively until the battery is completely drained. It should, however, be noted that if the driver needs to accelerate suddenly and purposefully depresses the accelerator pedal significantly beyond a certain point (equivalent to the kickdown switch function on a standard automatic transmission vehicle), the rotary engine will activate and generate the power needed for the car to accelerate as powerfully as possible. Charge mode can be used to safeguard the necessary amount of battery for situations such as the need to save zero emissions running for particular urban environments, additionally drivers have the option of setting the amount of battery charge they want to reserve in increments of 10 per cent. The generator will activate when battery charge drops below the specified reserve level, charge the battery to the set level, and maintain that level of charge. Once battery charge is above the set level, the car will operate in the equivalent to Normal mode until the battery depletes to the specified level. It will then use the rotary engine generator to keep the battery at that level.
Commenting on the reveal of the Mazda MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV, Jeremy Thomson, Managing Director, Mazda Motors UK, said: “I’m really excited about the new MX-30 R-EV joining our electrified line-up. A great example of Mazda’s challenger spirit, thanks to its unique technological approach, it’s a car that’s the perfect solution for customers who want an electric car for everyday usage but the flexibility to undertake longer journeys without the reliance on charging infrastructure. With the option to choose either the pure electric MX-30 or the new R-EV version depending on their needs, our customers now have even more choice”.
Adding, “whichever version they choose they get the same seamless electric drive experience, engaging handling and first-class cabin, which features unique materials and premium design. It’s the latest example of how Mazda’s Multi Solution Approach ensures we have cars to suit all our customer’s needs by improving environmental performance with a combination of electrification and clever internal combustion engine technologies”.
Mazda MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV Edition R
Now sold out in the UK, the Mazda MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV Edition R made its debut at the Brussels Motor Show in January 2023. This limited edition launch model has stand out features inside and out, including the unique colour combination of Jet Black with Maroon Rouge side pillars and a black roof. With the R moniker standing for ‘return’, the Maroon Rouge colour accent pays homage to the roof colour of the Mazda R360 – Mazda’s first passenger car. Inside, the front seat headrests are embossed with the rotary symbol and Edition R name, while the mats feature the rotary badge and a single white line of 2.6mm stitching matching the width of the rotor apex seal grooves. The same nod to the rotor apex seals can be found on the sculpted sides of the key, which also features horizontal sides that curve at the same angle as the sides of the rotor.
The MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV is equipped with three drive modes that drivers can choose from based on the way they want to use the car: Normal mode, EV mode and Charge mode.
Normal mode delivers electric drive with good running performance. As long as there’s enough battery charge, the car will use electric drive in Normal mode, with the rotary engine inactive. If more power is required than the battery level can deliver – for example when accelerating hard, the rotary engine generator will activate based on the degree of throttle opening and supply the battery with more power.
EV mode allows drivers to stay in electric drive for as long as possible. This mode ensures the vehicle uses electric drive exclusively until the gauges show the battery is depleted. However, if the driver suddenly depresses the accelerator pedal beyond a certain point (equivalent to kickdown in a conventional auto), the rotary engine will activate and generate additional power to enable rapid acceleration.
Charge mode can be used to safeguard the necessary amount of battery for situations such as keeping the car in EV mode to drive in residential areas or using the car battery to power devices. Drivers have the option of setting the amount of battery charge they want to reserve in increments of 10 per cent between 20 and 100 per cent. The generator will activate when the battery charge drops below the specified reserve, charge the battery to the set level, then maintain that level of charge. Once the battery charge is above the set level, the car will operate in the equivalent of Normal mode until the battery depletes to the set level again, whereupon the rotary will engage again to return to the set level.
Power on the go
The Makoto grade MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV features vehicle to load power supply, so thanks to a 1500W standard UK 3-pin plug in the boot, the R-EV can be used to power standard electrical items and would come into its own on camping trips and days out.
The rotary generator
The last Mazda production car to feature a rotary engine was the Mazda RX-8. Its 13B Renesis two-rotor engine was 15kg heavier than the new 830cc single rotor unit found in the MX-30. This is achieved by the use of aluminium for the side housing section of the engine, while the new unit’s compact size is also a key benefit. With a 120mm generating radius and 76mm rotor width this allows coaxial placement and integration with the electric motor, decelerator and generator to achieve a unit with an overall width of less than 840mm to allow easy integration under the bonnet of the MX-30. With a WLTP combined CO2 output of just 21g/km it has class-leading environmental performance.
Evolution of the rotary
Mazda has evolved the rotary engine throughout its history, the 830cc MX-30 R-EV unit is the smallest capacity rotary to appear in a Mazda production car. It’s the first rotary to feature direct injection, this makes it possible to distribute the air-fuel mixture to the main combustion area and achieve more efficient combustion to improve emissions and fuel economy. The engine also features an exhaust gas circulation (EGR) system to improve efficiency at low RPM and low load situations by reducing cooling losses. Another rotary engine development found on the R-EV is airtight apex seals at the rotor tips where the width of these seals is increased to 2.5mm to improve wear resistance. The plating on the trochoid surface inside the housing was changed to reduce wear and frictional resistance – aluminium is used for the sides of the housing with a high velocity oxygen fuel coating to add a ceramic coating to reduce frictional resistance.
The battery and electric motor
The MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV’s 17.8kWh battery was chosen by considering both the all-electric range and environmental impact of the battery over the entire lifecycle of the car. As with the MX-30 BEV the battery housing is connected to the vehicle body structure to improve body rigidity and handling. The high output electric motor has a maximum output of 125kW at 9,000rpm and can produce up to 260Nm of torque at 4,481rpm. The motor body is oil cooled, which contributes to a more compact drive unit.
Regenerative braking and driver engagement
As with the pure electric MX-30 BEV, the MX-30 R-EV features steering wheel paddles that offer drivers the ability to adjust the level of regenerative braking at throttle lift off. This allows the driver to tune the amount of regen depending on the driving scenario and driver preference. The throttle pedal is tuned to deliver high precision torque control to give a natural and comfortable power delivery. Like the pure electric MX-30, the R-EV has been conceived to be an EV that delivers the sort of driver engagement and feedback normally reserved for internal combustion engine powered cars – in short it features the same Jinba Ittai connection between car and driver you find in all Mazdas.
Enhanced charging functionality
The MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV is compatible with AC charging as well as rapid DC charging. Moreover, it can be connected to Type 2 and CCS charging systems. This ability to use rapid chargers is uncommon amongst conventional plug-in hybrid rivals. Using a 36kW charger the battery can be charged from 20 per cent to 80 per cent in 25 minutes, with a three-phase 11kW AC charger the battery can be refilled in approximately 50 minutes, while a single-phase 7.2kW charger will take around 1 hour and 30 minutes. All Mazda MX-30 R-EV retail sales in the UK come with a half-price Pod Point home charger~.
Colours and styling
The MX-30 R-EV is offered in nine colour combinations in total. There’s Arctic White, Polymetal Grey, Ceramic, Jet Black and Machine Grey in single tone, while to further enhance the MX-30’s styling the following twin tone colour combinations are also offered: Zircon Sand with black side panels and roof, Jet Black with silver side panels, Ceramic with dark grey side panels and black roof, plus Soul Red Crystal with black side panels and roof. While the R-EV shares the same exterior styling as the pure electric MX-30, it’s marked out by different wheel designs: Prime-Line features 18-inch grey alloy wheels, while Exclusive-Line and Makoto have 18-inch black/silver diamond cut alloys.
The Mazda MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV needs servicing at the same 12,500-mile interval as other Mazda models, while a fixed priced service plan is available for £25.72 a month or £849 one off payment. Like, the pure electric MX-30, the R-EV features an eight-year battery warranty.
Sales split in the UK market
At the time of launch the predicted sales split in the UK is for Prime-Line to make up 24 per cent of sales, Exclusive-Line to be the most popular at 44 per cent and range-topping Makoto to account for 32 per cent of UK sales.
Average journeys in the UK and R-EV customers
By looking at digital service records data we can track car usage and in the UK we can see the average daily journey for a Mazda customer is just 26 miles and UK government statistics show national weekly average mileage is 100 miles. The MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV’s pure electric mileage of 53 miles meets many of these daily journeys, while the rotary generator gives the flexibility for long journeys without the need to depend on public charging. With the 50-litre fuel tank powering the rotary to keep the battery charged for another 350 miles, the R-EV offers unique flexibility, while always delivering an electric driving experience.