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Mazda MX-30 launches in hybrid form, EV and rotary engine extender land in 2022

The rotary engine is set to return, but for now, Japan will get the MX-30 as a standard hybrid vehicle.

Mazda MX-30
Looking good in red.

It looks like the coronavirus pandemic shuffled the lovely Mazda MX-30's launch timeline. While the electric was originally scheduled for to start shipping out this fall, it's the MX-30 hybrid that comes first, according to an announcement from the automaker on Thursday.

The little MX-30, which stole our hearts at the Tokyo Motor Show last year, will be the company's first EV, but in its home market of Japan, Mazda kicked things off with the MX-30 hybrid. The model uses a 2.0-liter inline-four engine and a small lithium-ion battery and electric motor for its electrified powertrain. Mazda plans to sell the car in both front-wheel and all-wheel drive and the production car keeps its sustainable interior materials and very cool suicide doors.

Now playing: Watch this: Mazda MX-30 is the brand's first electric vehicle

But, in 2022, the all-electric version will land. And coupled with an EV version will be at least one variant with a rotary engine to act as a gasoline-powered range extender. The MX-30 never promised a lofty range estimate at just 124 miles, and if Mazda has any intention of selling the EV in the US, a range extender is likely a good bet. Americans tend to drive further than others.

While it's exciting to see the rotary engine return in some form, we're still eagerly hoping the automaker has some sort of performance car in the works with the iconic, oddball engine. This past April, a patent application in Japan renewed hope Mazda is at least investigating the idea. The complex patent imagined a rotary engine working with electric motors, inverters and capacitors. The complexity sure sounded like something for a performance car and Mazda even told us back then that it encouraged fans to share where they'd like to see such a powertrain. C'mon, the clear answer is an RX-9.