Posts Tagged ‘mazda rotary’

Mazda2 with extended-range hybrid rotary tech shown

Published by Mazda Blogs on December 23rd, 2013

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Mazda2 RE Range Extender electric car, front three-quarter view

Every story dealing with a new rotary engine from Mazda lands in a different place on the matrix of possibilities between “Coming soon!” and “Never gonna happen!” In 2011 it was speculated that the rotary engineering program would be shut down with the demise of the RX-8, in 2012 the program was still alive and taking lessons from the SkyActiv engines, in August 2013 a Mazda insider said a rotary engine called 16X would be here in two years, in November the CEO said the only way we’d ever get a new rotary is if Mazda could sell 100,000 of them per year. Meaning that, for the moment, you can forget about it.

And yet, last month Mazda was putting journalists in a Mazda2 RE Range Extender, an electric car using a 0.33-liter rotary to power its lithium-ion batteries when the charge runs down. With a 75-kilowatt, 100-horsepower electric motor turning the front wheels, the Wankel generator and its 2.6-gallon gas tank living under the trunk double the range of the electric-only Mazda2 to 250 miles.

There’s been talk of using a rotary to assist an alt-fuel vehicle for at least seven years, with Mazda pairing an electric motor with a rotary that ran on gas and hydrogen in a Mazda5 in 2007. Since then, almost all of those stories debating its return or demise also spoke of the oddball motor’s advantages, such as compact size and ability to run on various fuels, as an aid in an unconventional powertrain.

Its development was said to be born from dissatisfaction of 70 percent of Mazda2 BEV owners in Japan who said they weren’t happy with the 124-mile range of their electric car even though they never needed more; however, such a car was hinted at by the previous Mazda CEO at the 2012 Moscow Motor Show. AOL UK drove the range extended version in November and found it to be a fine experience, with Mazda engineers at the event putting such technology at least three years out while stressing that the test car is just that, and not scheduled for production.

Mazda2 with extended-range hybrid rotary tech shown originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 23 Dec 2013 07:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Rotary engine development halted at Mazda?

Published by admin on August 23rd, 2011

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Mazda Renesis rotary engine

At the end of 2011, the Mazda RX-8 rotary-powered sport coupe/sedan will cease to exist in new-car showrooms. With it, the mass-produced rotary engine will take another hiatus. The original plan was to have the Renesis, the world’s only mass-produced rotary, come back maybe as early as 2017 in a new sports car. In fact, we just heard reports that Mazda’s rotor-obsessed gearhead engineers were still manning the program, albeit at a reduced pace.

According to Wards Auto, though, that plan may soon go south thanks to a weakened Japanese economy. The Renesis program is reportedly at the top of the list of programs to kill, and development on a new rotary has supposedly been halted for now. Mazda hopes it will be able to pick up its work in rotaries again sometime in the future, but the piston-free mills also have fuel economy and emissions woes to contend with, which may dampen their chances even further.

So, where does the truth ultimately lie? Our guess is that it would take a lot to get Mazda to abandon its rotary program entirely, considering how much history the Japanese automaker has tied up in the Wankel. That said, unless major inroads are made in efficiency, future rotary applications my be extremely few and far between… and a revival of the iconic RX line may never come to fruition.

Until we hear any official word from Mazda, you can find us in the corner crossing our fingers at 9,000 rpm.

Rotary engine development halted at Mazda? originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 11 Aug 2011 08:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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