Mazda will revive the rotary, however as an EV vary extender

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

Mazda’s rotary engine may reappear within the US as early as 2019, Automotive Information experiences, 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 car batteries.

The automaker instructed AN new rotary engine would doubtless perform as a spread extender for an electrical car, powering up solely when the batteries wanted extra juice for an extended general vary. BMW has an identical setup in its i3 metropolis automobile, 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 automobile for the final yr.

Chris Paukert/Roadshow

A rotary would work properly as a spread extender, as a result of it is small and does 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 car’s noise and harshness.

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

Mazda expects its first EV to debut in 2019, taking two kinds. A pure EV could be offered in smaller nations 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 an alternative of utilizing cylinders shifting up and down on a crankshaft, a rotary engine makes use of a triangular rotor that rotates by means of all 4 levels of inner combustion — consumption, compression, ignition and exhaust. They’re compact and light-weight, however low on torque and recognized for having sealing points and mediocre gas financial system.

This is not the one various 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 gas financial system and, together with a supercharger, it may very well be fairly the peppy little motor.

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