It’s Official – Mazda is Working on a New Rotary Engine

It’s Official – Mazda is Working on a New Rotary Engine

Mazda has confirmed it is working on a next-generation rotary engine that may arrive in time for its centenary anniversary in 2020.

Speaking to Australia’s Wheels Magazine, Mazda’s Technical Research Centre and Integrated Control System Development boss, Mitsuo Hitomi, revealed the automaker is working on a new rotary engine. Hitomi said development of the rotary has focused on fixing some of the well-known shortcomings of the engine, such as apex seal wear and oil consumption. He also acknowledged that it isn’t possible to achieve the same emissions levels as a conventional engine in a rotary.

“We’re still continuing development of the next generation rotary engine,” Hitomi said.

“We cannot improve the rotary engine to the current conventional engine emissions,” he added. “We are investigating various kinds of emission systems to ensure ideal conditions.”

This focus on fuel burn efficiency was later reiterated by Mazda’s head of product strategy, Hidetoshi Kudo, who told Wheels the automaker was looking at alternative ignition technologies to remedy the problem.

“As you know, flame propagation is an issue in rotary engines. We are looking at laser ignition and plasma ignition, but laser is very expensive,” explained Kudo.

SEE ALSO: Will it or Won’t it? Mazda RX-9 Rumored for October Debut

Kudo also said rotary engines were “very important” to Mazda before pointing out that 2020 is the automaker’s 100th anniversary. Based on these statements, it seems possible that a rotary-engined Mazda could arrive around that time to mark the automaker’s centenary year. We’ve heard rumors that Mazda could be preparing to show an early draft of a so-called ‘RX-9’ at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show in October, but we remain skeptical such a product will be shown so soon.

No matter when the next rotary-engine Mazda arrives, we can at least take solace in the fact that it is indeed happening. Who says the combustion engine is on its way out?

[Source: Wheels Magazine]

Discuss this story on our Mazda forum.

  • K03sport

    I would love to see the rotary return…could the rotary benefit from a different type of fuel, such as LPG, LNG, E85, etc, to aid in the exhaust/emissions dilemma?…in this day and age of advanced hybrid polymer synthetic alloys that there isn’t a solution to the apex seals…too bad they couldn’t design a small window/acess panel/hatch that could allow “easy” access to the apex seal so they could be replaced/inspected w/o tearing apart the engine…

  • Cobranut

    I highly doubt anything like that could ever be made workable. The pressures and temperatures involved, as well as the seal itself, requires strong and rigid internal surfaces. Also, the water jacket surrounding the housings would be in the way as well.