Investment in electric and rotary technology is said to be increasing at Mazda as the company intends to use the engines as range extenders, we could witness an unveiling of a Mazda RX9 rotary sports car in the near future.
Once again, the whole ‘will they or won’t they’ question regarding a new Mazda rotary sports car has reared its head. An ‘RX9’ is still on the table, and its unlikely potential saviour is the Japanese firm's incoming electric vehicle plans.
Mazda is said to be increasing investment in the Wankel engine as the company’s first-ever electric vehicle is readied for a 2020 launch. The reason is simple: rotaries can be compact yet very powerful and are inherently smooth in their operation – all qualities that make them ideal range extenders.
Probably to your surprise, Mazda has produced many rotary engines – all the way back to the 1960's in fact. Some of those engines are as follows:
10A - 1.0 L (1967–1973)
10B - 1.0 L (1968–1972)
13A - 1.3 L (1970–1972)
12A - 1.1 L (1970–1985)
13B - 1.3 L (1973–2002)
20B - 2.0 L three-rotor (1990–1996)
R26B (Not to be confused with Nissan's RB26) - 2.6 L four-rotor (1991–24hr Le Mans winner)
Renesis - 1.3 L (2004–2013)
The more Mazda continues to refine the rotary concept and increase its efficiency, the more likely it is that such an engine is utilised in a sportier setting. Like a new RX7/RX8. It’s a suggestion the company has made before, but Mazda execs are still talking about the prospect, and that can only be good news.
“EVs are not the answer for everything,” Wojciech Halarewicz, Mazda’s European vice president of communications told Pistonheads, adding, “Combustion engines will still play a part, and if you asked me if I want a rotary sports car at the top of the range, I’d say yes I’d love to have one. Many of my colleagues would too. So it’s a matter of keeping the sales growth going to make sure we can do one in the future.”
Keep your fingers crossed, folks!