Has the rotary found a way to live on?
We’ve heard this all before and yet, literally each time, Mazda refuses to make anything official. But here’s what we do know: Mazda has yet to fully give up on the rotary engine. Question is, what will it ultimately end up doing with the updated rotary technology, if anything at all? A new RX sports car? Perhaps, but Green Car Reports has learned of something that, at first, sounds odd. But when you think about it, it does make some sense, and it all begins with Toyota.
Earlier this week, Toyota unveiled its e-Palette concept at CES, a battery-electric and self-driving concept that could be the delivery vehicle of the future. Toyota also announced some of its development partners, including Pizza Hut, Amazon and Uber. Mazda was also one of them. What does a competing automaker have to do with this? A Mazda spokesman said its engineering team will share the powertrain's developments with Toyota, including a range-extending rotary engine. "Mazda will provide technical information on a (rotary engine) range extender to be used in the vehicle being developed. We will reveal more details at an appropriate time," the spokesman confirmed to Green Car Reports.
Toyota has thus far declined any additional comment. But why go with a rotary range extender? Because rotary engines are compact and quiet. They may not be the most fuel efficient, but they’re useful in this alternative application. Previously, Mazda and Toyota announced they were teaming up to develop electric vehicles. Now we have a clear answer as to what Mazda has to offer.