Mazda has patented new rotary engine technology in the US, but it won’t be arriving under the hood of a sports car.
Autoblog has discovered two new U.S. patents filed by Mazda, the first of which is for a small rotary engine that acts as a range extender in a plug-in hybrid EV. Back in 2013, we saw a Mazda2 prototype that used essentially the same setup as described in the patent, which is an electric motor driving the front wheels while a small 0.33-liter rotary engine is mounted in the rear and helps to keep the lithium-ion batteries charged.
In the second patent, Mazda is protecting a start-stop system designed specially for rotary engines. Since the position of the rotor affects the intake and exhaust ports being open or closed, it needs to stop in a specific position that keeps the intake closed to make sure no fuel or exhaust exits the intake. This would help with fuel economy, while a separate system, that would fire a spark plug after fuel flow has been cut is described that would help to reduce emissions.
This engine is also listed as a range extender, which makes inherent sense for a rotary based on its natural advantages, those being its small size, light weight and high power-to-displacement ratio. Keeping the engine small and light would help with overall fuel economy and packaging.
Of course, Mazda hasn’t alluded to production for a new rotary engine, so for now, all we have is a patent. But it at least confirms that Mazda hasn’t forgotten about the rotary engine.
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