Will U.S. Get the Mazda MX-30 Rotary R-EV and Is It Really a Rotary Engine?

Mazda works in mysterious ways when it comes to the MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV. The design is great, but the range is terrible. And the price is high but the performance is low. It’s a quandary as to what Mazda is doing with the MX-30, especially now with all of the hype over its rotary engine. But is it really a rotary-powered Mazda?

While the MX-30 has limped along over the last two years, with sales so low it begs the question of why Mazda bothers to see it here. In 2021 sold 161, and in 2022 a bit over 300. For the last half of 2022, you couldn’t order one because the company said it was sold out. 

How big is the Mazda rotary engine and what does it do?

Mazda MX-30
2023 Mazda MX-30 R-EV | Mazda

The company knew it needed to do something, so it devised adding a gas engine range extender. This, too, seems a bit perplexing, until it announced the engine would be a rotary design. Since then, the fact that Mazda was using a rotary engine has been the big news for 2023, and rightly so.

Except that it is a puny 830-cc engine that doesn’t power the car. It powers the charger to add more battery capacity. Some say it is nothing more than a gimmick. And because of the characteristics of rotary engines, the main being they’re notoriously bad carbon emitters, is the MX-30 PHEV cleaner with a pedestrian gas-powered engine? 

How much range does the Mazda MX-30 R-EV have?

Mazda MX-30
2023 Mazda MX-30 R-EV | Mazda

Reconfiguring the EV for the range extender meant making the battery smaller, and adding a fairly large 13-gallon gas tank. The new battery is about half the size of the all-electric version. Now, it is a 17.8 kWh lithium-ion pack as opposed to the previous 32.0 kWh pack. So fully charged, the range is an eye-popping 53 miles. 

Once the battery runs low, the engine cranks up to recharge the battery. That’s fine, but as of now, Mazda has no figures for the total range once the rotary fires up. It does say the R-EV hits 62 mph in 9.1 seconds, which doesn’t say much. And overall, the MX-30 weighs almost two tons, which doesn’t bode well for range. We expect that the rotary engine and associated components are partly to blame for the car’s added poundage. 

Is the Mazda rotary MX-30 coming to the U.S.?

Mazda MX-30
2023 Mazda MX-30 R-EV | Mazda

The exterior remains exactly as it did before, which, again, we like. Some new color combos and little rotary badging are the only changes for 2023. If one opts for the top-of-the-line Edition R, the rotary logos are embroidered into the seats and floor mats. 

So the big question is if the R-EV will even be available in the U.S. Earlier, Mazda said the U.S. was in its plans, but now it isn’t saying if or when that might happen. We do know the EV-only version is available in California, and only there. But really, this only adds to the puzzling aura around Mazda’s MX-30 EV and R-EV. 

Mazda MX-30
2023 Mazda MX-30 R-EV | Mazda
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