Paris - After years of rumours, Mazda has finally confirmed officially that it will be reviving the rotary engine, but as per the more recent speculation, it’s not coming back as a performance powertrain, at least not in the conventional sense.
Instead, these future rotary motors will serve as range extenders for electric vehicles that Mazda plans to introduce as part of its electrification strategy.
To that end, Mazda is currently developing two battery-powered vehicles - one that’s fully electric and another that pairs an electric motor to a range-extending rotary engine that will recharge the battery when it runs out of charge and the driver is not near a charging station.
Mazda says the range-extending rotary will be small, lightweight and exceptionally quiet.
“The concept behind the rotary-powered range extender was to leverage the rotary engine's small size and high power output to make multiple electrification technology solutions possible via a shared packaging layout,” the company's statement said.
The new rotary can also run on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and owners will be able to use it as a source of electricity in emergencies - something South Africans would certainly appreciate.
The two battery vehicles will form part of Mazda’s plan to offer some form of electrification in every car it produces by the year 2030.
By then Mazda expects pure electric vehicles to account for 5% of its sales, with the remaining 95% made up by internal combustion engines with some form of electrification.