Mazda Puts Rotary Range Extender on Hold
Mazda had planned to bring back the rotary engine as part of a range-extender for an electrified vehicle.
That plan is paused, at least for now.
Instead, it appears the rotary engine will return as a power assist for plug-in hybrids as well as series hybrids.
“We are still considering using rotary engine as a range extender, but the timing of its introduction is undecided,” spokesman Masahiro Sakata told Automotive News.
According to AN, reports in Japanese media suggest Mazda has dropped plans to use the rotary as a range extender in the upcoming MX-30. Supposedly, the rotary necessitated a bigger battery, and that would’ve driven up the MX-30’s cost too much.
Mazda had planned a global launch of the MX-30 with rotary range-extender for some time in the first half of 2022, with special attention paid to the American and European markets. A full EV version of the MX-30 launched last year in Europe and Japan, and the Japanese market also got a mild-hybrid version.
The journey of the rotary remains a strange one.
It will be the only range extended electric vehicle that gets 11mpg.
Niche mfgs such as Volvo, Mazda and JLR should have just licensed Toyota's HSD for one product cycle and the option of another. That would have been enough time to figure out the right direction while appearing to be "green". Sure EV tyranny suddenly pretends reliable hybrid tech no longer exists, but I doubt for niche brands the jackboot thugs are going to call them out on not being good enough. Seriously, there are plenty of like minded people still in HSD who won't being like called literally Hitler/Stalin/Mao/Pol Pot by the lunatics.
Mazda is screwing around with rotary engines while Tesla filed for a patent on a lower-cost method of extracting lithium and another for electrolyte additives. Mazda trying to extend the past while Tesla is finding ways to win in the future. https://html.scribdassets.com/7oaqwxq1vk8sdofj/images/1-c5ac77d416.jpg EV competition will probably not look anything like what it was in the ICE era. Most ICE vehicles were relatively close in cost and performance from one company to another. I think we well see much greater disparities between auto companies in the EV world. The companies like Tesla, VW, Toyota, and Hyundai/Kia that are investing in research into lowering the cost of battery production, new manufacturing tech (eg. gigapress), new motor tech (that 20k rpm motor that tesla has is awesome), and battery research at the molecular level will dominate the others by a wide margin.
It was always hubris for Mazda to think it, a single small carmaker, could make the rotary competitive with piston engines that have had the benefit of many big carmakers leveraging each other's engine R&D over the years. And, in general, vehicles with both ICE powertrains and heavy long-range batteries aren't going to compete well, especially as charging infrastructure gets built out. There may be use cases where they really are best, but it's going to be hard to stomach the fuel costs associated with that much weight and the maintenance costs of two powertrains.