The Mazda rotary is coming back to America as a range extender

It’s official. The long awaited Mazda rotary engine is making a return to the States in the MX-30. It’s not in a turbocharged sports car we have hoped for, but there’s still nothing else like the RERE — rotary engine range extender — in the automotive kingdom. We’ve written at length about why Mazda deserves praise for this. After all, they could’ve just gone with a conventional hybrid or EV setup. Instead, they’ve turned what could’ve been an otherwise unexceptional vehicle into something that carries the company heritage and is unmistakably Mazda.

Initially, Mazda is importing only the all-electric version, generating 144 horsepower and 200 lb-ft of torque. No range was specified, but Mazda says it will be imbued wit the same SkyActiv engineering and driving dynamics aas its other offerings. If so, that’s a very good thing.

It’s also being offered in California only at first. According to Autoblog, it’ll be rolled out to other states based on customer demand in the coming years. The RERE will arrive for the 2023 model year.

As we’ve mentioned before, the MX-30 has what looks to be a very nice interior. Our favorite aspect is the use of cork on the center console and door pull, a reference to the company’s origins as a cork manufacturer over 100 years ago.

There’s also a throwback in what Mazda calls “Freestyle Doors.” Essentially they’re pillarless suicide doors, taking parlance from the RX-8. Mazda has made us consider classes of cars that we, as enthusiasts, would otherwise thumb our noses at. In fact, over the weekend the JNC staff just added our third CX-5 to our family fleets. Patrick Strong, Glenn Chiou, and myself all have them as family haulers now. The MX-30 might just be fill that void in the class of electrified cars not aimed at the ultra-rich.

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9 Responses to The Mazda rotary is coming back to America as a range extender

  1. Damian says:

    Many decades ago in Europe they used to have racing cars that ran with fire engine pump motors…wouldn’t be hard to imagine cannibalising wrecked MX30 rere’s for sporty uses… Thsnk you Mazda.

  2. Jim says:

    Pretty old news. And I doubt anyone will be removing these to power anything larger than another lawnmower. IIRC, the displacement is minimalistic, even compared to the 12a.

    • Damian says:

      Those race cars were pretty much lawnmowers. I personally don’t think I’ve cars will ever be phased, not in the near term. A flex fuel system can be added to a petrol car and will minimal alteration, you can convert from petrol to ethanol, Green tick. Renewable tick. Feels good tick tick tick. Don’t just swallow the narrative. EV’s aren’t that clean, and certainly they are not the only solution, if at all.

  3. BlitzPig says:


    A hybrid SUV. Not exactly my idea of “Zoom Zoom”.

    This is a far cry from the Coventry Climax FW and FWB series engines that Damian alludes to in the first post.

  4. speedie says:

    As a mechanical engineer, and rotary car owner, I know that the rotary will never again be used as the primary engine in car. While it is a truly great engineering design it cannot match the power, torque, fuel economy or low emissions capabilities of piston engines which themselves are being phased out with the advent of the electric car. I give credit to Mazda for finding one last way to use it in a car. As a secondary engine Mazda does need to meet the strict emission requirements or fuel economy goals for a primary engine which I am sure made this application easier to sell to management. Once this model’s life cycle is done I am sad to say we will never see its use in a car again.

  5. Alan says:

    We’ll be buying one as soon as the RERE version becomes available. Speaking as an owner of a ’79 RX-7, a Sachs single-rotor-powered snowmobile, and several OS R/C airplane Wankels, this is super-exciting news. We’d all love another RX-series sports car, of course, but this simply isn’t a possibility in the 2020s, and the MX-30 looks genuinely cool with lots of intriguing styling and engineering not seen on other CUVs. If it’s anything like current Mazda CUVs, it will be fabulous to drive as well.

    Thank you Mazda!

  6. Negishi no Keibajo says:

    Range is probably the biggest obstacle to new potential buyers of hybrids. I don’t see the development of the RERE as some sales gimmick. I trust that there is a compelling argument in business & engineering terms for the move. I’m not an enthusiast of the rotary so I wouldn’t care if bananas made for an efficient layout. If it can deliver on an honest 1000 mile road trip & be stylin’), I will look at that car. Kudos to Mazda.

    As much as I love the ICE for DD’s, that ship is sailing.

  7. Mazda currently build the most beautiful vehicles in the car industry – with the MX-30 being the exception, as it is rather ugly and the proportions are somewhat off.

    Kudos to them for bringing the rotary engine as a range extender. Lightweight and smooth, the perfect choice for that application.

  8. Howard Weissman says:

    Good looking car but will it influence the appearance of the CX models?

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