U.S. to Get Mazda MX-30, Wankel Range Extender

It’s official: Mazda will soon sell a rotary engine in the United States, though perhaps not in the format we were all hoping for. In an interview with The Detroit Bureau, Mazda North American Operations president Jeff Guyton confirmed that the brand’s MX-30 crossover, originally bound only for Japan and Europe, will come to the U.S. as an electric vehicle with a rotary-engine range extender. “For the U.S. market,” Guyton told TDB, “the range extender would be more appropriate.”

We asked Mazda for more information, and the company confirmed: “Mazda is committed to continuing to innovate and delivering an engaging driving experience. With that in mind, we can confirm we will bring our first electric vehicle, the MX-30, to the U.S. market. The vehicle will be available as both a fully electric model and a series plug-in-hybrid, featuring a rotary engine. Additional information about availability will be released at the appropriate time.”

Mazda also has a “mild” hybrid version of the MX-30, which is already on sale in Japan and is built around the 2.0-liter “SkyActiv-G” engine. The MX-30 EV, meanwhile, will debut in Europe as a pure EV, and the range extender will follow in 2022. What we don’t know is the specific timing for the U.S. model, though we’d be surprised if it’s very far behind the European launch. And what about the mild-hybrid version? We think it’d make sense for Mazda’s U.S. lineup, but Mazda says it has not been confirmed for any market outside of Japan.

Guyton also mentioned something we already knew, which is that Mazda is working on a new hybrid crossover designed in conjunction with Toyota. Mazda and Toyota are scheduled to open a jointly-operated plant in Alabama this year where the new hybrid will be built. We know Mazda plans to use Toyota hybrid technology, but whether the new Mazda SUV will be a home-grown design or a rebadged Toyota remains to be seen. Also in the works from Mazda? A straight-six engine.

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