Despite reports that Mazda has shelved plans for a next-generation rotary engine, the Japanese automaker unveiled a Mazda2 hybrid that utilizes a rotary engine that recharges the vehicle’s battery.
Though Mazda’s CEO Masamachi Kogai did state that a rotary engine wasn’t in the automaker’s immediate plans, he also made the claim vague by stating that the automaker was researching the technology to see where it’d fit in its portfolio. The prototype Mazda2 started its life as an electric vehicle but now features a 0.33-liter rotary engine in the rear of the car that generates power, charging the lithium-ion battery when it’s running low. Essentially, the Mazda2 is an extended-range hybrid but instead of a standard gasoline engine, it employs rotary technology.
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The Japanese automaker is calling it the RE Range Extender, short for Rotary Engine Range Extender. It appears that Mazda is seriously considering it as a viable application, especially if it helps the brand meet strict emissions requirements.
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