Mazda on Friday afternoon revealed that its MX-30 lineup will not be returning for U.S. sales after the 2023 model year.
For longtime Mazda fans, that piece of news also means that Mazda’s Wankel rotary engine won’t be coming back to America anytime soon.
The MX-30 EV arrived for first deliveries in late 2021, and with its 100-mile EPA range rating it’s been one of the lowest-driving-range EVs available in the U.S. market.
The single-motor, front-wheel-drive MX-30 was always intended to be just part of the lineup, though. Since the model’s 2021 introduction, Mazda teased an upcoming range-extended version enabled by a Wankel rotary engine—a Mazda signature—on board as a range extender.
Mazda MX-30 R-EV
That version, called the Mazda MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV, is on closer scrutiny a model that may be hard for American drivers to comprehend, let alone see advantages to in either by-the-numbers operating expenses or in sheer driving enjoyment. It features a smaller 17.8-kwh battery pack enabling a range that might likely land near 40 miles EPA (53 miles on the significantly more generous WLTP cycle). Its little 0.83-liter, single-rotor engine makes 73 hp and its only task is to drive a generator. Despite a boost at the drive motor of about 25 hp, a gain of more than 250 pounds doesn’t make it much quicker than the EV, and both dash to 60 mph in the nine-second range.
2022 Mazda MX-30 EV
It’s unclear what kind of fuel economy the R-EV might have been able to deliver after running through a charge in American-style freeway driving, but rotary engines were never stellar for cruising efficiency, and neither is the series-hybrid layout.
In a statement, Mazda North American Operations emphasized that plug-in hybrids rather than EVs are in its immediate future for America. And it essentially cuts off any hope of the R-EV arriving in the U.S. “Our current U.S. electrification efforts are focused on large platform PHEVs, such as the first-ever 2024 CX-90 PHEV and upcoming CX-70 PHEV, as well as introducing CX-50 Hybrid into our lineup to address the specific needs of the U.S. market,” it stated.
Mazda MX-30 R-EV
Mazda rotary nostalgia? Not for now, America
That said, Mazda reported that “mass production” of the R-EV had started, and the model appears to still be bound for Europe and the U.K., with deliveries due in the fall.
As a Mazda executive told Green Car Reports several years ago, before the project itself had been revealed, the automaker had pushed for the idea of a rotary range extender partly because of Americans’ nostalgia over the brand’s rotary-powered sports cars like the RX-7 and RX-8. America may have inspired the product but it appears to lose out in actually getting the product.
2022 Mazda MX-30 EV
In a review of the Mazda MX-30 EV published earlier this year, we found this short-range EV to offer up a bewildering mix of limited compliance-car availability, compromised performance, slow road-trip charging, and an underwhelming exterior design contrasting with unique cabin appointments that felt as if Mazda were pulling out all the stops.
MX-30 EV has been exotic-car rare
The MX-30 has been a very slow-seller, which Mazda has only officially made available in California. Mazda delivered just 520 MX-30s for the 2022 model year, split between late calendar-year 2021 and the earlier part of 2022. Then with the 2022s gone, a 2023 Mazda MX-30 EV returned with only a slight price increase.
2023 Mazda MX-30 EV
The 2023 model year may be the one for the collectors, as it’s looking rarer than some supercars. Mazda sold just 66 MX-30 EVs in the U.S. in the first half of 2023 (through June), and we’ve no reason to believe that the pace picked up appreciably in July.