Mazda Puts Rotary Range Extender on Hold

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Mazda had planned to bring back the rotary engine as part of a range-extender for an electrified vehicle.

That plan is paused, at least for now.

Instead, it appears the rotary engine will return as a power assist for plug-in hybrids as well as series hybrids.

“We are still considering using rotary engine as a range extender, but the timing of its introduction is undecided,” spokesman Masahiro Sakata told Automotive News.

According to AN, reports in Japanese media suggest Mazda has dropped plans to use the rotary as a range extender in the upcoming MX-30. Supposedly, the rotary necessitated a bigger battery, and that would’ve driven up the MX-30’s cost too much.

Mazda had planned a global launch of the MX-30 with rotary range-extender for some time in the first half of 2022, with special attention paid to the American and European markets. A full EV version of the MX-30 launched last year in Europe and Japan, and the Japanese market also got a mild-hybrid version.

The journey of the rotary remains a strange one.

[Image: Mazda]

Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for, CarFax,, High Gear Media, Torque News,,, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as,, and He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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12 of 29 comments
  • Imagefont Imagefont on Jul 12, 2021

    It will be the only range extended electric vehicle that gets 11mpg.

  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Jul 12, 2021

    Niche mfgs such as Volvo, Mazda and JLR should have just licensed Toyota's HSD for one product cycle and the option of another. That would have been enough time to figure out the right direction while appearing to be "green". Sure EV tyranny suddenly pretends reliable hybrid tech no longer exists, but I doubt for niche brands the jackboot thugs are going to call them out on not being good enough. Seriously, there are plenty of like minded people still in HSD who won't being like called literally Hitler/Stalin/Mao/Pol Pot by the lunatics.

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    • SoCalMikester SoCalMikester on Jul 13, 2021

      comin back the 15th! no step on snek! remember ashley babtard! pillowbiter guy has all the proof hes going to show you! keep the faith :)

  • Mcs Mcs on Jul 12, 2021

    Mazda is screwing around with rotary engines while Tesla filed for a patent on a lower-cost method of extracting lithium and another for electrolyte additives. Mazda trying to extend the past while Tesla is finding ways to win in the future. EV competition will probably not look anything like what it was in the ICE era. Most ICE vehicles were relatively close in cost and performance from one company to another. I think we well see much greater disparities between auto companies in the EV world. The companies like Tesla, VW, Toyota, and Hyundai/Kia that are investing in research into lowering the cost of battery production, new manufacturing tech (eg. gigapress), new motor tech (that 20k rpm motor that tesla has is awesome), and battery research at the molecular level will dominate the others by a wide margin.

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    • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Jul 13, 2021

      @jalop1991 "They’re equally valid routes to take." Not if you're Mazda. "Refining existing technology" is fine, but the rotary is a relic that Mazda wears as a badge of honor. Hyundai/Kia, for example, has done an excellent job producing 1.6L hybrids that can get 35-55+ mpg in the real world. Mazda's obituary will point to its slavish dedication to the rotary as a primary reason for its downfall.

  • Dal20402 Dal20402 on Jul 12, 2021

    It was always hubris for Mazda to think it, a single small carmaker, could make the rotary competitive with piston engines that have had the benefit of many big carmakers leveraging each other's engine R&D over the years. And, in general, vehicles with both ICE powertrains and heavy long-range batteries aren't going to compete well, especially as charging infrastructure gets built out. There may be use cases where they really are best, but it's going to be hard to stomach the fuel costs associated with that much weight and the maintenance costs of two powertrains.