Finally, Mazda is getting into the electric vehicle bandwagon… in 2020. The Hiroshima headquartered automaker will launch its first EVs in 2020 as part of the company’s ’Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030’ long-term technology development program. Well, I guess it’s better late than never, right? Anyways, this is not an automobile blog and usually, this kind of ‘news’ is not exactly our forfeit and it will be here taking up precious post space, but this one is different because, it involves my all-time personal favorite engine invention: the rotary engine, AKA Wankel engine.
The official words are, the Japanese automaker most notable for its Miata/MX-5 roadster will be rolling out two EVs. One is a pure electric and the other (drum roll please…), is s range-extender powered by a “small, lightweight and exceptionally quiet rotary engine.” So, yes, rotary will continue to live, albeit now only serving as secondary power source. It is sad that we have to come to this, but it is inevitable looking how we are messing up this beautiful planet. It is for the better, I suppose. Rotary engine is historically known to be a serious gas guzzler (like super guzzler). Economy has never a rotary engine’s strongest suit. Here are the official words:
“The range-extender will recharge the battery when necessary to increase the vehicle’s driving range, eliminating the range anxiety which continues to trouble a high percentage of battery EV users… The rotary engine’s small size and high power output make multiple electrification technology solutions possible via a shared packaging layout. Taking advantage of the rotary engine’s compatibility with gaseous fuels, the rotary-powered range extender is designed to also burn liquefied petroleum gas and provide a source of electricity in emergencies.”
Mazda said it is expecting internal combustion (IC) engines combined with some form of electrification will account for 95% of the vehicles the marque produces in 2030, with all-electric vehicles filling in the remaining 5%. It looks like Mazda is embracing the future, but not fully. The automaker vows to continue looking at ways to maximize the efficiency of the IC engines. Great. Now, please make the rotary engine as efficient as inline engine please and also, bring back RX-7. We don’t need the lame RX-8. Actually, you know what? A triple-rotary Cosmo will be even cooler.