Mazda takes pre-orders in Japan for MX-30 with rotary engine

Mazda Motor has started taking orders from its customers in Japan of a plug-in hybrid version of the MX-30, which uses a rotary engine.

The Japanese automaker has restarted production of the engine after it was ended 11 years ago.

A rotary engine has a triangular rotor that spins, instead of pistons moving up and down. It can generate high power relative to its size.

Mazda was the first carmaker in the world to successfully commercialize the motors.

But they were less fuel-efficient than their piston counterparts. Mazda ended their production in 2012.

The carmaker says the new engine is lighter than the old models and that it makes the most of its ability of becoming fuel-efficient when the rotor spins constantly at high speed.

The engine will only be used to generate extra electricity for the car's main motor. Its battery can also be charged at home.

Mazda's Chief Strategy Officer Kojima Takeji said the company needs to develop its already-existing technologies and brands, as society has shifted to the electrification of vehicles. He added it is important for Mazda to provide its customers with many choices.

The automaker is aiming to electrify its entire lineup by 2030.