Thanks to a little help from electric vehicles.
It has now been around seven years since the Mazda RX-8 went out of production, leaving the market for rotary-powered sports cars completely empty. The rumor mill has been spinning faster than a rotary engine with news of an RX-8 successor, but Mazda has yet to announce anything.
We've heard a few quiet whispers that Mazda's new rotary engine could be used in tandem with an electric drivetrain, or even with a hydrogen-propulsion system. In a recent interview with Piston Heads, Mazda's European Vice President of Communications, Wojciech Halarewicz, noted how the "dream" of a new rotary sports car is still alive.
Halarewicz said that Mazda's investment in rotary technology has been ramped up ahead of the company's first EV in 2020, which will be built with help from Toyota. "We know that electric cars will be important in 2020 to 2025, but also that EVs are not the answer for everything," he said. "Combustion engines will still play a part, and if you asked me if I want a rotary sports car at the top of the range, I'd say yes I'd love to have one. Many of my colleagues would too. So it's a matter of keeping the sales growth going to make sure we can do one in the future."
The equation here is very simple - if all of Mazda's plans go well and the company sells a ton of cars, there will likely be money in the budget for a new rotary-powered sports car. Mazda has been hard at work trying to fix some of the issues it had with the last rotary engine in the RX-8 - notably high fuel and oil consumption and a short lifespan. The rotary may see new life as a range extender for EVs, but our dreams of a rotary sports car are still very much alive.