Mazda Officially Announces The Return Of Its Rotary Engine, But…


There’s more than one way to use rotary technology.

Believe it or not, it’s been around seven years since the Mazda RX-8 finished production and we’ve been pining for a new rotary-powered Mazda sports car ever since. Mazda has finally officially announced details for its long-rumored new rotary engine, but before you get too excited it won’t be powering a Mazda RX-8 successor. Instead, it will act as a range extender, recharging the battery pack to increase the range of an electrified model and reduce anxiety.

Details are scarce for now, but the Japanese automaker says the rotary engine is “small, lightweight and exceptionally quiet” while also having a “high power output.” It will be compatible with a range of electric powertrains and has also been designed to run on liquefied petroleum gas and provide a source of electricity in emergency situations.

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Initially, Mazda will launch two battery EVs. One will be a pure EV, while the other will combine a battery with the rotary engine acting as a range extender. Both are slated to launch in 2020 and will start Mazda’s big push for electrification. By 2030, the automaker estimates 95 percent of cars in its line-up will be electrified, while the remaining five percent will be pure EVs. In the meantime, Mazda is currently developing its new-generation SkyActiv-X engine featuring compression ignition.