Trademark applications filed with IP Australia suggest Mazda is on track to reintroduce the rotary engine for the first time in more than a decade – but as a range extender for its electric SUV rather than in a high-performance sports car.
That Mazda MX-30The rotary drive range extender variant is getting closer to showrooms after two years of delays, with three Australian trademark filings pointing to an imminent arrival of the hybrid powertrain.
Range extenders act as a generator and increase the range of an electric car by charging the battery while driving instead of directly driving the wheels.
Submitted to IP Australia, Mazda has the hallmark ‘e-SKYACTIV R-EV’ and ‘e-SKYACTIV R-HEV’ Names – probably referring to the MX-30’s e-Skyactiv engine, as well as the planned one RrotaryEelectric vvehicle and RturningHhybrid Eelectric vvehicle variants.
A third trademark application has unveiled Mazda’s proposed badge design on its range extender-equipped models, which incorporates an “e” (for electric) into the shape of a rotor.
While Mazda’s rotary engine design has a number of shortcomings — like a lack of torque, high fuel economy and a question mark over long-term reliability — the automaker claims its range extender is due to the engine running in a stable condition.
Mazda claims the MX-30 Electric has a maximum range of between 200km and 224km with its 35.5kWh battery — about half the range of its competitors in the $70,000-75,000 electric car market. However, real-world tests of journey has found that its maximum travel distance on a single charge is closer to 150km.
In March 2021 – before the MX-30 arrived in Australia – the local branch of Mazda said it was interested in adding the rotary range extender powered variant to its 2022 lineup, but the model has yet to go into production .
Since arriving in Australia in 2021, Mazda has sold 1,556 MX-30s – the company’s second-lowest selling model after the MX-5 sports car.
“Sales figures for the all-electric Mazda MX-30 are in line with Mazda Australia forecasts. A portion of the original allocation of Mazda MX-30 Electric models remains available, along with some ex-demonstrator models,” the company said in a statement at the time.
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