Mazda will pair a rotary range extender as an option to an electric drivetrain
It's been six years since Mazda sold a rotary-powered car in the United States, and the Japanese automaker has had an on-again, off-again relationship with the engine technology since then. Now it seems Mazda is willing to apply the rev-happy Dorito motor to a new efficient solution: as a range extender in an electric car. Martijn ten Brink, Vice President of Sales and Customer Service of Mazda Motor Europe, confirmed further details on the EV in an interview with Dutch AutoRAI (via Motor Authority).
As governments globally plan the regulatory phase out of fossil fuel-powered vehicles, Mazda is diving into electric drivetrains. "Under the name Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030 we have outlined a complete future plan," said Martijn in the interview. "An electric car has also been included in that plan." Electric vehicles still come with the challenges of more limited range versus their gasoline and diesel counterparts, so Mazda will employ the rotary engine as a range extender for the new electric vehicle. "Optionally we supply the electric car with a range extender in the form of a wankel engine. This is mainly to take away any concerns from customers," Martijn said.
An electric vehicle with a rotary range extender has been the worst-kept secret in the industry in recent months. Mazda North American president Masahiro Moro reiterated his desire for the engine's return in January for both sports cars and cleaner options. "That could be a very environmentally friendly engine," Moro said. "Or the rotary engine could be a generator to generate electricity. So we have a lot of opportunity for the rotary engine." The latest report says the rotary will be used in conjunction with Mazda's Small Car Platform, which underpins the Mazda2, CX-3, and Mazda3, with the new vehicle likely to take on a crossover form.
It'll also be a small displacement, single-rotor engine, similar to the one used in the 2013 Mazda2 TPEV concept, probably measuring in at around 330 cc (0.33 liters).