Rumors of a new Mazda Rotary engine and Rotary engine powered car have been swirling around ever since the RX-8 got the axe. It seemed like there was a never ending stream of rumors that would quickly get killed off by a press release from Mazda but then just a moment later a new rumor would pop up. This has been going on for what feels like an eternity, but finally, some official news. Granted it’s not the news most of us expected or hoped for, but it is news none the less.
Mazda has announced that it is brining back the Rotary engine as an EV Range Extender for an upcoming electric vehicle that is supposed to come out in 2020. The Rotary is expected to recharge the battery when needed thus increasing maximum driving range. Mazda stated that this particular Rotary is also capable or burning liquefied petroleum gas and that it can be used as an electricity source in the case of an emergency.
Mazda powertrain boss Mitsuo Hitomi told Automotive News that a rotary engine makes a good range extender because it’s small, powerful, and doesn’t generate much vibration. Akira Kyomen, program manager for vehicle development, commented that Mazda’s pure EV will target Japan, Europe, and China, while the range extender will be key for North America and other markets where people have long daily drives.
Mazda introduced its first production rotary engine more than 50 years ago. It debuted on the 1967 Mazda Cosmo Sport 110S, which was also Mazda’s first sports car. That vehicle’s 1.2-liter two-rotor Wankel engine made just 110 hp, but it set the stage for future models like the RX-7 and RX-8. Mazda got rid of its rotary engine when the RX-8 was discontinued in 2012.
Mazda also stated that by 2030 it expects that 95% of its vehicles will utilize an internal combustion engine in tandem with some form of electrification. The other 5 percent of its vehicles will run solely on electric power. As a Miata owner I am curious what this means for the Miata in at the future as well as Mazdas racing legacy. Will their new hybrid and electric cars cary on the fun to drive Zoom Zoom attitude or is that a thing of the past?
We will keep you in the loop as more news develops.