Mazda Rotary Claims Green Credentials in PHEV Powertrain

Mazda has released comprehensive details of its rotary motor assisted PHEV powertrain deployed in the Mazda MX-30 eSkyactive R-EV unveiled at the Brussel Motor Show this week.

This powertrain revisits the rotary ICE technology that the automaker has been championing for more than 50 years. Between the launch of the Mazda Cosmo in 1967 and production of the RX-8 ending in 2012, the automaker mass-produced more than 1.9 million rotary engines. Now it has been adapted to meet the needs of an electrified powertrain rotary as a power generator rather than a drive unit.

The new 8C rotary engine is a 830cc single rotor with a 4.7-inch rotor radius and 3-inch rotor width which enables coaxial placement and integration with the electric motor, decelerator and generator to achieve a unit with an overall width of less than 33.7-inch, 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 33lbs 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 11 gallon (13.2 gallon US) fuel tank the rotary generator claims long-distance travel without the need for regular fuel station stops and claims an overall range of 373 miles with CO2 emissions of 21g/km on the WLTP rating.

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 life cycle. The MX-30 R-EV’s output 162bhp electric motor can produce up to 191ft-lbs of torque.

Compatibility with both AC charging and rapid DC charging is another benefit, meaning 3-phase AC charging takes around 50 minutes, while 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 Charg, and it delivers slightly better acceleration performance than the 141bhp fully electric MX-30.

Jeremy Thomson, managing director, Mazda Motors UK, said: “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.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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