Mazda's rotary engine to return as EV range extender

Mazda rotary: What goes around comes around

Tag: Mitsuo Hitomi

It's expected that Mazda will preview a rotary-powered vehicle of some sort at this year's Tokyo Motor Show to mark the anniversary and then introduce the production version in 2020 to mark the company's 100th anniversary. The 1991 Le Mans victor is easily one of the fastest cars in the game, and that's mainly because of its incredible rotary engine. Well, according to this latest report from Automotive News, it could happen as soon as 2019. 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.

Mazda global powertrain boss Mitsuo Hitomi says the rotary is likely to return as a range extender engine to generate power for an upcoming EV on longer journeys, according to Automotive News.

"I think that's probably what it will be", Hitomi said during a technology preview at the Japanese carmaker's proving ground here in western Japan. The vehicle it is to be paired with will be released in 2019 in two variants - one as a pure EV and the other with a range extender.

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

Along with the two-model strategy for its EV, Mazda has developed a new vehicle platform that will also debut in 2019. Based on Hitomi's comments, it's possible the range-extender Mazda uses will be a rotary.

"Whether the business conditions will be met or not... not the big technical issues". Its rotary was a single-rotor 0.33-liter unit that with a full tank of gasoline could provide 111 miles of range. This unit is expected to power a high performance sports auto in the future that will slot above the Mazda MX-5 Miata. Mazda is now working on a new platform for the electric auto.

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