Mazda’s innovative rotary engine is on course for a comeback according to the automaker’s powertrain boss Mitsuo Hitomi. In a recent interview with , Hitomi revealed that the Wankel will most likely play a major role in the development of an EV offering that the brand hopes will hit showrooms by 2019.
Mazda plans to release two versions of this electric vehicle. One will serve as a pure EV, while the other will instead make use of a range extender, that job belonging to a newly designed rotary engine.
Making its production debut in 1967 inside the Cosmo Sport, the rotary was for years a staple of Mazda engineering, powering a number of the company’s most famous sports cars. However, its poor fuel economy and lack of power in comparison to the increasing number of turbocharged options saw its demise in the 21st century, with the last unit appearing in 2012’s RX-8.
Mazda appears to be keeping the technology alive for a new purpose however. Program manager for vehicle development Akira Kyomen also stated that this range-extended variant will probably be targeted more toward North American markets where those extra miles are particularly valued due to longer daily drives.
Those who miss the days of the rotary engine’s role in performance vehicles need not to worry though. Mazda has confirmed they are currently developing a larger version that may eventually find its way into future sports cars.
It looks like our wishes to see a new RX model sometime soon aren’t so far-fetched.