Don't Get Too Excited About Mazda's New Rotary Plans

Jason Siu
by Jason Siu

Mazda is bringing back the rotary engine, but it will likely be used as a range extender.

When Mazda introduced the RX Vision Concept at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, enthusiasts got excited about the possibility of not only a new sports car for the Japanese automaker’s range, but a rotary-powered one. But before the RX Vision Concept was unveiled, Mazda was quietly testing a Demio (Mazda2) EV in 2013 featuring a rotary engine serving as a range extender. For obvious reasons, that wasn’t very exciting, but that is likely how we will see the rotary engine being used in a new application.

Speaking at a technology preview at Mazda’s proving ground in Japan, the automaker’s global powertrain lead Mitsuo Hitomi suggested a new rotary engine will serve as a range-extender engine for an electric car.”I think that’s probably what it will be,” he said. He added by saying a rotary engine works well as a range extender because it’s compact and powerful, while generating low vibration.

SEE ALSO: Mazda Confirms New Rotary Concept Car for Tokyo Motor Show

Mazda is aiming to bring the electric vehicle to market in 2019, along with a hybrid vehicle. Like the BMW i3, the electric vehicle will be offered in two versions, one pure electric and one with the range-extender engine. It will ride on a new vehicle architecture that has been designed with a floor pan to accommodate batteries for an EV or hybrid drivetrain.

The good news? Well, Hitomi didn’t completely kill off the idea of a larger rotary engine that could be used to power a sports car. The problem however, is that Mazda is still debating whether it can make a business case for another sports car in its range with the MX-5 Miata currently existing.

We will likely find out more about Mazda’s future plans at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show, where it will debut a new rotary concept car.

[Source: Automotive News]

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Jason Siu
Jason Siu

Jason Siu began his career in automotive journalism in 2003 with Modified Magazine, a property previously held by VerticalScope. As the West Coast Editor, he played a pivotal role while also extending his expertise to Modified Luxury & Exotics and Modified Mustangs. Beyond his editorial work, Jason authored two notable Cartech books. His tenure at saw him immersed in the daily news cycle, yet his passion for hands-on evaluation led him to focus on testing and product reviews, offering well-rounded recommendations to AutoGuide readers. Currently, as the Content Director for VerticalScope, Jason spearheads the content strategy for an array of online publications, a role that has him at the helm of ensuring quality and consistency across the board.

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  • B-Jiggy B-Jiggy on Oct 19, 2017

    In my deepest of dreams, the sports sedan teaser image Mazda released will be a 3-rotor SCHCCI skyactiv-R full hybrid w/electric supercharger with rotary range extender. Call it the Rx10. Follow this up with an enthusiast coupe' verison that ditches the range extender, 1 rotor and swaps the full hybrid battery for a supercapacitor (to drive the electric supercharger). For good measure twin-charge it by adding a turbo for the mid-high end while the e-supercharger provides lagless low end boost. The cap would be recharged via Mazda's i-ELOOP regen brake setup. Call that model the Rx9, and let the pant-crapping commence. IMO that's how Mazda should come out swinging if it wants a rotary revival.