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The MX-30 will be arriving in the US later this fall starting in California!


Mazda's first electric vehicle will finally arrive in the United States later this year, starting in California this fall. The 2022 MX-30 will initially be available only as a battery-powered EV, while a plug-in-hybrid version with a rotary gasoline engine will arrive later on, likely sometime next year.

The fully electric version features a single electric motor powering the front wheels. Power output is 144 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque, making it significantly less powerful than many other affordable EVs.

A small lithium-ion battery pack provides just 35.5 kWh of total capacity—Mazda isn't providing a usable-capacity number yet, but we'd estimate it at around 32.0 kWh. This means that the MX-30 isn't likely to offer much more than 100 miles of range on a single charge on the EPA cycle. (Official ratings aren't yet available, but the MX-30 is rated at 124 miles on the more optimistic WLTP cycle.) Mazda hasn't released specs for the range-extender hybrid version, but its gasoline engine and fuel tank will likely provide significantly more driving range. DC fast-charging capability is standard, with Mazda claiming that the MX-30 can charge to 80 percent full in 36 minutes.

Within the current context of EV offerings, the MX-30 is more of a competitor to the Mini Electric, which has similar power and range numbers, than it is an alternative to longer-range affordable options such as the Chevrolet Bolt EV. And like the Mini, the MX-30 has distinctive styling inside and out, with RX-8–inspired rear half doors and interesting materials such as cork found on the dashboard.

While pricing is not yet available, we think the MX-30 will need an appealingly low starting price to overcome its low range and power numbers. The Mini Electric starts at just over $30,000, so Mazda would do well to try to match or undercut that with the MX-30's base price.
 

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The thing I don’t understand is the use of a rotary engine as a generator. Seems completely wrong to me. The rotaries were extremely inefficient, unreliable and didn’t like to be run at low constant rpm.

Anyone know of advancements with the technology to address these issues?
 

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Mazda had improved the Wankel engine consistently until it was pulled in 2011 due to emissions regulations. (Emissions caused primarily by residual un-burnt fuel and seal lubricant.) The reliability issues, largely caused by seals, had been mostly overcome. As Mazda have continued to work on it since then, we can assume that it will have improved. Importantly though, the MX-30 will be a "range extender". It is intended to be an electric vehicle with range anxiety removed by use of a small generator. The engine may be as small as 40kW, to keep size and weight down, and it will run at optimum conditions not determined by a driver. It will breeze through emissions regulations because most, if not all, of the regulatory tests will be done with electric only propulsion. The fuel efficiency will probably still lag reciprocating engines but it comes back to the concept again. And then the smoothness of the rotary is a major advantage.
 
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