Mazda and the Rotary Engine has been a "will they or will they not" since production of the RX-8 ended many moons ago. Recently, the Japanese automaker announced the engine would make a return as a range extender for the new MX-30 electric crossover. Those plans have been put on the back burner.
"We are still considering using the rotary engine as a range extender, but the timing of its introduction is undecided," said Mazda spokesperson Masahiro Sakata to Automotive News.
But the Japanese media tells a different story. AN says Japanese newspapers Nikkei and Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun report the rotary engine plans have been canned because it would require a larger battery, which in turn, increases the price. However, another Japanese outlet, Response says those reports are mistaken.
Currently, the MX-30 is on sale in Japan and Europe as an electric only. Mazda will be offering the MX-30 for California later this fall.
Many reviewers in Europe say the biggest weak point of the MX-30 is the range - currently rated at 124 miles on the very optimistic WLTP test cycle. Numbers for the U.S. aren't out, but we wouldn't be surprised if its under 100 miles. Using the rotary engine as a generator (see Chevrolet Volt) would have increased the range.
We do know Mazda has 10 hybrids and three electric vehicles in the pipeline between 2022 to 2025. Whether or not they will be using a rotary engine is unclear.