Mazda has confirmed it plans to bring its famed rotary engine design back to market. Only this time the rotary will find its way under the hood of an upcoming electrified model as a range-extender.
Mazda engine boss Mitsuo Hitomi confirmed the plans to AutoCar on the sidelines of the Tokyo Motor Show. Rumors of the returned rotary engine are nearly the thing of legend in the automotive space since the last rotary engine rolled off the line back in 2012 with the RX-8. According to Hitomi, the engine makes a perfect range-extender because its quiet.
“The rotary engine isn’t particularly efficient to use as a range extender but when we turn on a rotary, it is much, much quieter compared to other manufacturers’ range-extenders,” Hitomi stated to AutoCar.
Mazda will apparently utilize the rotary range-extender in a product slated for the 2019 timeframe. Details as to which model it will be are still not known and were not discussed by the executive. Mazda showcased a rotary engine hybrid powertrain in its RX Vision Concept car, which was revealed at the Tokyo show back in 2015. Since then the company has been mum on the subject until now.
When pressed if the company was also working on a standalone rotary engine, Hitomi hinted they were. In fact, he stated “of course” they are working on a standalone, suggesting a gas-only variant of the car may be in the works as well.
In addition to the return of the rotary, Mazda engineers have also been working on producing an electrified powertrain utilizing their upcoming Skyactiv-X engine. Skyactiv-X is the company’s new compression ignition engine, which it feels will be more efficient than total electric vehicles over the entire lifecycle of the vehicle.
Now that the official confirmation of the rotary’s return is out, expect more details to be forthcoming between now and the alleged 2019 launch.