Mazda has announced its intention to accelerate research and development (R&D) efforts in the field of Wankel engines.
As the brand most closely associated with rotary engines, thanks to sports cars like the RX-7 and RX-8, the Japanese automaker is now interested in their use as generators for vehicles with electric motors.
Most recently, the company explored the use of a rotary engine in the MX-30 e-Skyactive R-EV plug-in hybrid in Europe. Its 0.8-liter Wankel engine charges the vehicle’s small battery, increasing its range by 85 km for a total range of 600 km. This development was successful enough to convince the brand to invest further in the technology.
Since yesterday, a team of 36 engineers has been working together to make a breakthrough in rotary engine technology, according to Ichiro Hirose, Mazda’s director of technology. He promises technology that can help create “attractive cars that excite customers.”
Mazda wants to develop rotary technology beyond what the MX-30 has. However, the company specifies that the engine will continue to be used as a generator and is well suited to this task. Rotary engines are known for their small size, making them easier to integrate into a hybrid vehicle.
Although details of Mazda’s plan for the rotary engine remain unclear, the company has hinted that it is considering producing a sports car based on the technology. The iconic SP concept car was unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Show in October and would have been equipped with a “rotary EV system with two rotors” that can run on hydrogen or other carbon-neutral fuels.
With a surprisingly attractive design, around 365 horsepower, and a perfect 50-50 weight distribution, it could be a perfect iconic car for the company’s new technology.