Mazda has announced plans to bring back the Wankel Rotary Engine. For die hard rotary fans, this is not going to be your Dad’s rotary engine. Instead, Mazda will use the rotary, which it describes as, “lightweight and exceptionally quiet,” to recharge the electric batteries as a “range extender.”
Mazda announced their plans at a technology briefing on October 2, 2019 in Hiroshima Japan. The strategy focuses on “Earth, Society, and People,” and is a three pronged approach to develop more environmentally friendly vehicles that are fun to drive (Zoom-Zoom) and incorporate popular technologies, such as autonomous driving.
Specifically addressing the rotary engine, Mazda says, “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.”
This is truly a new chapter for the rotary engine and will no doubt bring curiosity and a new generation of fans to Mazda and the Wankel.
The full press release can be found here.
Don’t know what a rotary engine is? Start here.