There are steadfast friends of the rotary piston engine, they are few but loyal.

The Japanese manufacturer Mazda belongs to the sworn fan club Felix Wankels, in the model range such a driven exotic appears again and again.

This was last the case in 2011, now it's that time again.

In the future, in the compact crossover MX-30, which is very unique in terms of its concept, a Wankel engine will help the electric machine to jump, or rather: to the range.

So far it hasn't been that far, more than 150 kilometers were hardly possible.

This of course limited the suitability for everyday use a little.

Holger Apple

Editor in business, responsible for “Technology and Engine”.

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A Wankel engine is now used as a generator drive in the R-EV.

The R stands for Return or Rebirth of the Rotary Engine, as the project manager lets us know with visible joy.

The Wankel plays the trump card of its compact design and is installed in the front as an energy source next to the electric motor.

Both fit sideways between the side members when docked together.

The drive, declared as a plug-in hybrid, is always electric, depending on the battery level and performance requirements, the Wankel supplies the required power.

Its fuel tank installed in front of the rear axle is surprisingly large at 50 liters, and the battery supplied by Panasonic is expected to have 17.8 kWh.

According to the standard, this should result in an electric range of 85 kilometers for everyday needs and a possible total distance without refueling or recharging of 600 kilometers for the long-distance journey that is sometimes taken under the wheels.

The Mazda doesn't pull out trees despite the increased power to 170 hp, its focus is on efficiency and the encouragement of the tight 1.8 tons curb weight.

It accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 9.1 seconds and finishes at 140 km/h.

Opposing doors remain, and the price is at the recently raised level of the all-electric model, which is only for city-dwellers due to its meager range.

The MX-30 R-EV starts at 36,000 euros, the highest-quality version costs around 45,000 euros.

Deliveries are scheduled to begin in June.

Does a new plug-in hybrid make sense right now?

Mazda also builds six-cylinder bucking the trend.

And diesel engines in Japan.

Anyone can do mainstream.