Posts Tagged ‘wankel’

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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Mazda working on range-extended, rotary-powered vehicle

Published by Mazda Blogs on August 30th, 2012

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The Moscow Motor Show may be hotter than we previously though. Right on the heels of the debut of the next Mazda6, the Japanese automaker has revealed that it will continue to develop rotary engines and is also working on a range-extended vehicle.

When word came that the RX-8 would drive off to the big salvage yard in the sky, it was feared that it would spell the end for the stupendously high-revving mill, but Mazda CEO Takashi Yamanouchi stated that the company will “continue to explore ways to improve the fuel efficiency and capabilities of the rotary engine so it can be the primary source of power again.” That sounds very promising, coming form Yamanouchi, who said that interest in the rotary motivated his decision to come work for the automaker in 1967.

Part of the equation to maximize the potential of the rotary is to incorporate range-extending technology. Sure, Mazda’s rotary engines loves to play with its RPMs in the stratosphere, the company knows this mill is most efficient at about 2000 rpm. Starting and stopping require a good amount of energy to change the momentum of the Reuleaux triangle-shaped rotor. Range extenders would keep the rotor spinning at that ideal 2000 rpm while idling.

Rotary fans will hopefully rejoice at the idea of the Wankel mill continuing on for some time. Anyone worried about the engine’s fate will appreciate word that as long as Yamanouchi works for Mazda, research into the uses of the rotary will continue.

Mazda working on range-extended, rotary-powered vehicle originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 30 Aug 2012 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda tweet confirms next-gen rotory engine with SkyActiv tech

Published by Mazda Blogs on October 12th, 2011

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Renesis Rotary Engine

In the soap opera saga of are they or aren’t they still developing a rotary engine, Mazda seems to have indicated the affirmative. According to a translation of a Tweet from Mazda PR posted on a Japanese car blog, a “new model with a next-generation rotary engine” is in development.

While there’s only so much to be gleaned from a single 140-character message – even in information-dense Japanese – this forthcoming vehicle will incorporate Mazda’s fuel-saving SkyActiv technologies, which is only logical. Being thirsty has long been the Achilles heel of the Wankel, and anything that can help boost mileage and cut emissions should be well-received in a successor to the discontinued RX-8.

Mazda tweet confirms next-gen rotory engine with SkyActiv tech originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 11 Oct 2011 14:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda rumored to use laser-ignition for next-gen rotary

Published by admin on August 24th, 2011

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Mazda Kabura Concept

Mazda Kabura Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

Autocar is reporting that the next-generation rotary engine from Mazda may turn to a laser ignition system instead of traditional spark plugs. The report supposedly comes straight from the mouth of a shadowy senior engineer within the program. Mazda has been hard at work on the 16X Renesis rotary since around 2007 and the engine has seen quite a few evolutions over the intervening years. Autocar says that the design has seen displacement swell from 1.3 liters to 1.6 liters and that at least some parts of the engine have been designed to be made from aluminum to further reduce weight.

The work is in an effort to get the rotary to be more fuel efficient and provide more torque, the latter not usually being a chief attribute of this type of engine. According to Autocar, using a high-temperature laser ignition system would allow engineers to tune the Wankel to run leaner than systems that use a conventional spark plug. It would also reportedly allow the engine control module to more accurately adjust and monitor timing.

Mazda rumored to use laser-ignition for next-gen rotary originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 28 Jun 2011 13:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mazda still pursuing rotary development

Published by admin on August 23rd, 2011

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Mazda RX-8 engine bay

Fear not, rotaryphiles. According to a report from The Detroit News, Mazda isn’t giving up on the rotary engine anytime soon. Though the RX-8 is headed for the production guillotine, Mazda execs have apparently confirmed that engineers are working on a more efficient and more powerful version of the Wankel. While the project was technically back-burnered during the economic downturn, the research wasn’t canned outright. That means that there’s a chance that the rotary could make a comeback. What would it go into? That’s a little less certain.

We know that the MX-5 Miata isn’t a likely candidate, as Mazda has sworn to keep that vehicle true to its inline roots. A rotary does pair well with an extended-range electric vehicle platform, however, as the high-revving nature is perfect for turning a generator. While that may be a far cry from the low-slung RX-8, it’s at least reassuring to know that the engine design could have a future.

Mazda still pursuing rotary development originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 06 Aug 2011 12:07:00 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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