Mazda's Next Rotary Engine Might Not Just Be A Range Extender

Mazda’s Wankel rotary engine will not die, and we’re fine with that. The last we heard, the high-revving, crazy-sounding motor was in the running to possibly be used as a range extender for a hybrid. But at the Geneva auto show earlier this month, the company let a few new tidbits go in an interview with Australia’s Drive publication. Here are some of the highlights:

“We made an announcement that we are considering the combination of the rotary-based range extender and combined that with battery EV,” managing executive officer in charge of powertrain development Ichiro Hirose said.

Mazda says it has developed a flexible rotary hybrid platform that could go on sale in even the most emissions-strict markets. Drive says it will be named XEV and “arrive in Australia in the future.”

But this powertrain will be both a range extender and provide drive, according to Hirose. Like the Toyota Prius, it could also be the main driving engine, with an electric motor for standing starts and low-speed cruising because those are the most fuel-consuming times.

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