Published: Tue, October 17, 2017
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Mazda Rotary Engine Could Arrive in 2019

Mazda Rotary Engine Could Arrive in 2019

Mitsuo Hitomi, head of the Japanese manufacturer's powertrain division told Automotive News that the rotary engine will be installed in an EV as a range extender, and it could be on the road as early as 2019.

Meanwhile, Hitomi confirmed that Mazda's engineers are developing a bigger rotary engine that might someday power a sports vehicle.

Interestingly, Hitomi also added that Mazda's engineers are actually developing a larger rotary engine to maybe, someday, power a sports vehicle, but that it would only happen if the brand thought that a new sports auto made business sense, which right now is just not in the cards. The next iteration is heading toward an upcoming electric vehicle. It also gives Mazda a way to keep the technology alive.

Mazda's first EV is expected to hit the market alongside a hybrid in 2019. The former may see itself suited to markets like Europe, China, and Japan where EV range is sufficient with batteries alone.

The vehicle in question is slated for release some time in 2019 with two versions in mind - one being a full EV and the other running the rotary range extender.

Mazda retired the rotary engine with the RX-8 in 2012 amid slumping sales. Are we going to really sell that many models of sports cars? While there was a glimmer of light far off in the distance that looked a darn lot like a future of RX-VISION-inspired sports cars, it is still definitely not coming now, or even soon. Mazda has used the engine in a handful of road cars, racing cars and concept cars, and not much else - but now it's making a comeback.

But in 2013, it revived the technology in prototype form as a gasoline-powered 0.33-liter range extender in a Mazda2 hatchback reconfigured to run on an electric motor. Having a compact size, low vibration, and high power compared to its piston counterpart, the rotary packages itself perfectly as an auxiliary range-extending motor.

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