The rotary engine was the brainchild of German engineer Felix Wankel, and Mazda was the first automaker to put the Wankel invention into production vehicles. Mazda has been producing rotary engines and using it to power its cars since 1963, despite its few drawbacks. Over the years, the company has worked on this concept to make even better rotary engines, which culminated with the Renesis series of naturally aspirated rotary engines.
Since the demise of the Mazda RX-8 , the company has put the rotary engine production on hold as newer models moved onto cleaner and more efficient powerplants. Today, the rotary engine does not appear in any Mazda product. An now, the only car maker in the world that has embraced the Wankel engine might be on the verge of putting it to rest for good. We hope that does not happen but that’s what new CEO at Mazda, Masa-michi Kogai alluded to in an interview with Automotive News.
In an interview with the publication, Masa-michi San emphasized on the commercial proposition of the rotary engine. The company would have to generated a sales volume of 100,000 units per year in order to make the rotary engine a viable business option. Masa-michi San also said that generating profits for the company will be a priority and sticking with rotary engines does not seem to be the right path to take, at least for the moment.
The previous boss at Mazda Motor Corp. had hinted at a possible rebirth of the rotary engine in a future hybrid vehicle. The engine would be used to generate electricity to charge a set of batteries. Since then, we haven’t seen a single concept or even an official blurb from Mazda , which begs the question, have we seen the last of the Mazda Wankel rotary engines?
Click past the jump to read more about the Mazda RX-8