Mazda's Rotary Engine Might Appear in a New Toyota Project, But You're Going to Be Disappointed

mazdas rotary engine might appear in a new toyota project but youre going to be

With news of Mazda’s rotary engine development surfacing throughout the past year, we’ve been actively following its progress. Of course, die-hard rotary fans have been less enthused, as all information points to the powerplant continuing on as a gas-driven range extender for EVs — rather than the heart and soul of a high-performance coupe. It could still happen, but it’ll be a long wait.

The prognosis recently became more interesting, though enthusiasts aren’t likely to feel any better about it. Toyota is hinting that Mazda’s rotary could be the perfect solution to a concept vehicle it’s currently working on. Unfortunately, that unit is the e-Palette — an autonomous box riding atop the company’s new battery electric platform, with more applications as a mobile store than as a personal conveyance.

We shouldn’t pigeonhole the e-Palette, though. Its design and name simultaneously indicate a clean slate, allowing it to be purpose-built for loads of uses. It comes in three sizes, ranging from 13 feet long to approximately 23 feet, and is intentionally designed to be as flexible as possible.

Toyota has already partnered with Amazon and Pizza Hut to explore autonomous delivery applications, but there’s no reason to believe it couldn’t be outfitted for shuttling humans. (It will likely need to be redesigned to adhere to safety regulations before the Uber affiliation bares any real fruit.)

Toyota also tapped Mazda as its technology partner for the project, adhering to an earlier promise to collaborate on EVs. According to Green Car Reports, the e-Palette presented at 2018’s CES didn’t include an internal combustion engine. But Jacob Brown, spokesman for Mazda North America, said Mazda’s engineering team will ultimately share powertrain developments with Toyota, including a range-extending rotary engine.

“Mazda will provide technical information on a [rotary engine] range extender to be used in the vehicle being developed. We will reveal more details at an appropriate time,” Brown said.

Neither Toyota nor Mazda was willing to specify if the rotary range enhancer would be limited to the e-Palette concept, but we’d guess not. Considering the vehicle is really just a shell for Toyota’s new EV platform, there is no reason it couldn’t be equipped for other more contemporary models. Meanwhile, Mazda’s new EV architecture is set to arrive in 2019 (with help from Toyota) and could also make use of the rotary.

[Image: Toyota]

Join the conversation
4 of 10 comments
  • IBx1 IBx1 on Jan 10, 2018

    Please be the pizza delivery pod Please be the pizza delivery pod Please be the pizza delivery pod

  • JDG1980 JDG1980 on Jan 10, 2018

    There's something dystopian about that "Ride Sharing 37" thing. It looks like something you'd see in a totalitarian dictatorship. (I say this as someone who has nothing against self-driving cars *per se*, but abhors the idea of losing individual car ownership.)

  • 2ACL What tickles me is that the Bronco looks the business with virtually none of the black plastic cladding many less capable crossovers use.
  • IBx1 For all this time with the hellcat engine, everything they made was pathetic automatic scum save for the Challenger. A manual Durango, Grand Cherokee, Charger, 300C, et al would have been the real last gasp for driving enthusiasts. As it is, the party is long over.
  • MaintenanceCosts The sweet spot of this generation isn't made anymore: the SRT 392. The Scat Pack is more or less filling the same space but it lacks a lot of the goodies, including SRT suspension, brakes, and seats. The Hellcat is too much and isn't available with a manual anymore.
  • Arthur Dailey I am normally a fan of Exner's designs but by this time the front end on the Stutz like most of the rest of the vehicle is a laughable monstrosity of gauche. The interior finishes suit the rest of the vehicle. Corey please put this series out of its misery. This is one vehicle manufacturer best left on the scrap heap of history.
  • Art Vandelay I always thought what my Challenger really needed was a convertible top to make it heavier and make visability worse.