Mazda Confirms the Rotary Engine’s Return but it Doesn’t Mean What you Think
The world has been begging Mazda to bring back the Wankel Rotary engine since they killed it off along with the RX-8 back in 2012. And, it’s finally happening, but not in the way we wanted. Instead of being the misunderstood performance beast that it once was, it will be reduced to nothing more than a range-extender for Mazda’s all-electric car that’s due sometime next year.
He confirmed the Wankel’s return but said that it would be a single-disc engine that will be naturally aspirated
The word comes after ZerAuto.nl had a brief interview with Mazda’s Vice President of Sales and Customer Service for Europe, Martijn ten Brink. He confirmed the Wankel’s return but said that it would be a single-disc engine that will be naturally aspirated – that’s right, no turbocharger and a mission of acting “strictly as a generator.” It is said to be “as big as a shoe box” and will be positioned low in the construction of the vehicle to keep the center of gravity low. The key highlight will be vibrationless operation, and as such, the driver won’t even realize that the engine has started.
So, the engine is coming back, but it’s not in the way we all hoped. And, with its size, there’s no back-yard hack or monster garaging you can do to make it worth its weight as the primary source of motivation in a car. It might be able to produce some serious horsepower for a lawnmower or go-kart, though, if that’s your thing.
The rotary engine will be optional as a range extender and is being offered only to ease customer concern over range
All jokes aside, the new electric car and the Wankel generator are all part of Mazda’s new Zoom-Zoom 2030 plan. The rotary engine will be optional as a range extender and is being offered only to ease customer concern over range. With that in mind, don’t expect Mazda’s EV to offer a lot of range on battery charge alone. Brink says the range extender isn’t even necessary “because the average buyer travels an average of 37 miles (60 kilometers) per day from home to work and back again.” With that in mind, expect the EV to offer very low range in hopes that the Wankel generator will make up for the lack of range.
Not sure if that’s the way to go or not, but Brink also said that “in the eyes of Mazda, the fuel engine is far from being written off. Even in 15 to 25 years, the fuel engine will remain an important unit for cars, as hybrids and plug-in hybrids both use it.
Who knows, maybe the Wankel will make the return in larger and more powerful form. Until then, keep hoping folks.
Read our full review on the 2011 Mazda RX-8.
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