Ever since the death of the RX-8 in 2012, we’ve been wondering when a rotary engine would return to a production car. Well, according to this latest report from Automotive News, it could happen as soon as 2019.
Mazda global powertrain boss Mitsuo Hitomi says the rotary is likely to return as a range extender engine to generate power for an upcoming EV on longer journeys, according to Automotive News. This makes sense considering the rotary’s compact design, low vibration, and sufficient power output.
Autmotive News reports this EV will come to market in 2019 in two configurations; one completely electric, and the other equipped with a range extender.
This isn’t even the first time we’ve seen Mazda use the rotary as a range extender. The company revealed a battery-powered Mazda2 concept back in 2013 (above) that used a 330cc rotary as a generator.
According to Hitomi, there’s another rotary engine in development, and it could power a new sports car. The biggest roadblock? Whether it actually makes financial sense for Mazda to produce it.
For Mazda, it’s “whether the business conditions will be met or not … not the big technical issues,” according to Hitomi. “Are we going to really sell that many models of sports cars? There aren’t that many auto companies selling multiple sports cars.”
But the fact that the engine is being developed should give us a sliver of hope of seeing a new RX sports car from Mazda some time in the future.