The petrol engine in this car has no mechanical connection to the wheels.

It sounds like a revelation that would have motorists contacting the manufacturer to report a severe malfunction.

In this case, it’s all part of Mazda’s innovative approach to reducing emissions by using a variety of powertrains.

The 830cc rotary engine might not have any direct effect on the wheels, but it plays a vital role in allowing the MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV to travel further.

By acting as a generator for the 17.8kWh battery, the petrol engine allows for long-distance travel.

During the UK launch of the vehicle, we were struck by the way the 53-mile pure electric range could be extended by the all-new single-rotor petrol unit, which continues Mazda’s proud history of using rotary engines.

Somerset County Gazette: The MX30 R-EV during the UK launch in North WalesThe MX30 R-EV during the UK launch in North Wales

During a lengthy trip around North Wales, there was no need for regular fuel station stops and no range anxiety, despite the MX-30 R-EV always driving via the electric motor.

When the generator kicks in, you’re aware of the noise, which isn’t too intrusive, but it otherwise feels like a seamless EV driving experience.

So it’s a solution that feels right, but do the numbers stack up well?

The flexible total range is over 400 miles, while a WLTP CO2 output of just 21g/km ensures class-leading environmental performance.

The car has three drive-modes - namely EV, Normal and Charge. The latter sees the petrol engine working harder to reinstate charge into the battery at a more urgent rate, while Normal mode does so at a steadier pace.

Somerset County Gazette: The engine compartment for the vehicle The engine compartment for the vehicle

Acceleration on the twisty roads of Snowdonia felt very brisk and responsive, with the car’s 125kW/170ps output delivering slightly better performance than the 145ps fully electric MX-30.

The car felt well-balanced when cornering, with sharp turn-in, grippy characteristics and very limited body roll.

The vehicle is compatible with both AC charging and rapid DC charging, meaning three-phase AC charging takes around 50 minutes, while DC rapid charging can be completed in around 25 minutes.

The R-EV retains the smart looks already seen on the fully-electric MX-30, with some optional colour combinations making it even more eye-catching.

Meanwhile, the interior is well laid-out, with premium materials used and a dash that puts all the main information within easy reach of the driver. It’s minimalist and uncluttered, with most functions, such as the audio controls and sat-nav, controlled using a rotary dial, which offers excellent ease-of-use.

There’s plenty of headroom, legroom and adjustment up front, but things get much tighter in the back, where the seats are perhaps best-suited to children.

Added practicality comes from the style of the side doors, which both open from the centre to create a wide opening.

Somerset County Gazette: The cars lined up and ready to go outside the Titanic Hotel in LiverpoolThe cars lined up and ready to go outside the Titanic Hotel in Liverpool

Speaking at the Titanic Hotel opposite Everton’s new stadium in Liverpool, Mazda Uk’s managing director Jeremy Thomson said the car was a great example of Mazda’s “challenger spirit” thanks to its unique technological approach.

He said the car was “the perfect solution” for customers who want an electric car for everyday usage but the flexibility to undertake longer journeys without the reliance on charging infrastructure.

The Lowdown

MAZDA MX-30 R-EV Exclusive-Line

PRICE: £33,150
BATTERY: Lithium-ion 17.8 kWh weighing 188.2kg
ENGINE: 830cc single-rotor petrol engine
POWER: 170ps
TOP SPEED: 87mph
0-62MPH: 9.1 seconds