Mazda has not been shy about its aspirations to revive the rotary engine, as specified by its plans for this 12 months’s Tokyo Motor Present. However its improvement goes past idea fodder.

Mazda’s rotary engine may reappear within the US as early as 2019, Automotive Information stories, citing a dialog with Mazda’s international powertrain chief. However whereas earlier iterations had been utilized in sports activities vehicles, a brand new rotary would serve a extra 21st century goal — offering juice to electrical automobile batteries.

The automaker informed AN new rotary engine would doubtless perform as a spread extender for an electrical automobile, powering up solely when the batteries wanted extra juice for an extended total vary. BMW has an analogous setup in its i3 metropolis automotive, however it makes use of a extra conventional two-cylinder gasoline engine borrowed from a scooter.

Mazda’s RX Imaginative and prescient idea has had us dreaming of a brand new rotary-powered sports activities automotive for the final 12 months.

Chris Paukert/Roadshow

A rotary would work effectively as a spread extender, as a result of it is small and would not vibrate very a lot. Meaning it may very well be positioned nearly wherever in an EV with out intruding on cargo or passenger house, and when the engine runs, it will not add a lot to the automobile’s noise and harshness.

Fortunately, the rotary is not being relegated to that single responsibility. The automaker additionally informed AN that it’s engaged on a bigger rotary engine that might, in idea, be used to as soon as once more energy a Mazda sports activities automotive. That is a tougher promote, although, as a result of Mazda already has one sports activities automotive — the MX-5 Miata — and sports activities vehicles are usually not a high-volume, high-margin market.

Mazda expects its first EV to debut in 2019, taking two types. A pure EV could be bought in smaller international locations the place decrease vary would not matter, with a range-extended model arriving in bigger markets — just like the US — to accommodate for longer common journeys.

Mazda gained notoriety for utilizing the Wankel rotary engine in its RX line of sports activities vehicles within the 1980s and 1990s. As a substitute of utilizing cylinders transferring up and down on a crankshaft, a rotary engine makes use of a triangular rotor that rotates by means of all 4 phases of inside combustion — consumption, compression, ignition and exhaust. They’re compact and light-weight, however low on torque and recognized for having sealing points and mediocre gasoline economic system.

This is not the one different engine expertise Mazda’s engaged on. The corporate has additionally devised what it calls Skyactiv-X, relying totally on compression to ignite the combination of air and gasoline within the combustion chamber. In that sense, it is a gasoline engine that operates extra like a diesel. It is believed to enhance each emissions and gasoline economic system and, together with a supercharger, it may very well be fairly the peppy little motor.


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