Car News

Mazda's Rotary Will Return In 2019 As An EV Range-Extender

Mazda says it will bring back its rotary engine technology next year as an optional range extender in its coming electric vehicle.

The latest possibility for the rotary's reincarnation comes from the Netherlands' (translated), who spoke to Martijn ten Brink, Mazda's VP of sales and customer service for Mazda in Europe.

He said that Mazda's plan to bring an EV to market is part of its Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030 plan, but added that the automaker isn't ready to give up on the internal combustion engine.

Electrification is a major trend in today's auto industry, but Mazda has resisted it, preferring to refine internal combustion through forthcoming tech like its SkyActiv-X compression-ignition gasoline engine.

Mazda's reasoning for using a rotary range extender instead of its well-received SkyActiv piston engines is the rotary's smooth operation: the company's idea is to make the switch from pure electric to range-extended driving as imperceptible as possible.

Mazda's range extender will be a single-rotor Wankel motor that will take up about the same space as a pair of shoeboxes, including all ancillaries, and will be used only as a generator.

He explained that Mazda's first EV will be a compact about the size of the Mazda3, though the company is also exploring the idea of an electrified crossover. All of that will be made possible by a scalable new small car platform that will underpin the the next-gen Mazda3 and CX-3 and offer Mazda the packaging flexibility required to make room for a battery pack.