The latest edition of Mazda’s internal magazine, Zoom-Zoom, may hint at the arrival of a Hydrogen-powered rotary engine sportscar from the Japanese automaker.
In an article marking the 50th anniversary of the rotary-powered Cosmo Sport, Mazda explained that the rotary engine’s biggest drawback is poor fuel economy and emissions. A rotary engine has plenty of positives, however, including its compact size, and smooth, free-revving nature, so it’s easy to see why Mazda is reluctant to kill it off.
The key to the rotary engine’s future may be hydrogen. Mazda says rotary engines “can run superbly on hydrogen,” and because the only byproduct of combusting hydrogen is water vapor, emissions levels wouldn’t be a worry.
This isn’t the first time Mazda has expressed interest in hydrogen-powered rotary engines. Back in 2009, the automaker developed hydrogen-powered RX-8s for Norway’s ‘HyNor’ national hydrogen project and leased them to interested parties. It also offered a hydrogen-powered version of the RX-8 for lease in Japan around the same time.
The Zoom-Zoom article all but confirms a successor to the RX-8 is on the way. The author states that regardless of the technical direction the automaker takes with the vehicle it will “be a thing of beauty,” and references the Mazda RX-Vision concept shown at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show. The production version is expected to arrive in time for the 2020 model year – which is not coincidentally Mazda’s centenary anniversary year.