Mazda Rotary Engine Is Indeed Returning... As A Range Extender

Mazda Rotary Engine Is Indeed Returning... As A Range Extender”

A pure EV would be sold in smaller countries where lower range wouldn't matter, with a range-extended version arriving in larger markets - like the U.S. - to accommodate for longer average trips.

Mitsuo Hitomi, global powertrain head, said the technology will likely do duty as a range-extender engine to generate electricity for the battery-powered auto.

A rotary would work well as a range extender, because it's small and doesn't vibrate very much.

The pure electric will target markets such as Japan, Europe and China, where an EV can get by with a shorter range.

Outside of the Miata, Mazda does not sell any sports cars and head of powertrains Mitsuo Hitomi told AN he does not think it makes business sense to have another performance auto in the lineup.

Mazda gained notoriety for using the Wankel rotary engine in its RX line of sports cars in the 1980s and 1990s.

To be able to create two different vehicles on a single platform, Mazda is developing a special architecture that will debut in 2019. It was designed with a floor pan that can accommodate batteries for an EV or hybrid drivetrain.

For Mazda, it's "whether the business conditions will be met or not ... not the big technical issues", according to Hitomi.

Hitomi also revealed that Mazda's engineers are still working on a larger rotary engine that could be used for a future sports vehicle, but it's not known when that will be given the green light. Are we going to really sell that many models of sports cars? He does however confirm that Mazda has some ideas for a bigger rotary for a future vehicle but market trends will have to dictate the feasibility of a future sports auto.

We will likely find out more about Mazda's future plans at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show, where it will debut a new rotary concept auto.

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