After a ten yr hiatus because the rotary engine-powered Mazda RX-8 went out of manufacturing, the Hiroshima-based carmaker is lastly reviving its legendary rotary engine. However not in the best way all of us anticipated, or hoped. Come early 2022, albeit in hybrid type within the upcoming 2022 mannequin yr MX-30 range-extender model (during which the rotary engine acts as a generator solely), Mazda will add this new rotary-range-extender mannequin to their present MX-30 gasoline-hybrid and absolutely electrical lineup that can land in U.S. showrooms later this yr.
This mixture of electrification, hybridization and rotary reintegration seems to be simply the tip of the iceberg to what Mazda is actually planning. They are saying, “the place there’s smoke, there’s hearth.” Properly, the smoke we’re seeing from Mazda is definitely getting thicker because the months tick by in direction of 2022 and past.
The smoke I converse of are trademark purposes Mazda has made just lately, emblems that trace at some important developments within the model’s lineup. In response to Japan’s greatest promoting automotive journal Greatest Automotive and the favored Hatena Weblog, Mazda in August filed for 4 trademark purposes for 4 electrified energy techniques. The powertrain purposes will likely be expressed by a emblem, pictured above, with the letter ‘e’ positioned inside the form of a rotary engine. Drivetrain variants embody ‘e-SKYACTIV R-HEV,’ ‘e-SKYACTIV R-EV,’ ‘e-SKYACTIV R-Vitality and ‘e-SKYACTIV R.’
The ‘e-SKYACTIV R~one thing’ prefix clearly refers to some type of Mazda’s electrified Skyactiv rotary engine with the ‘R-HEV’ hinting at a hybrid or perhaps a hydrogen based mostly powertrain whereas the ‘R-EV’ seems to level in direction of a battery-electric variant. In the meantime the ‘R’ suffix might discuss with a subsequent technology RX-7 like sports activities automotive that includes a turbocharged rotary hybrid system. The rotary engine, which capabilities as a mere generator (and never driving the wheels) within the upcoming MX-30, proves that Mazda plans to make the most of its most well-known brandname to assist energy fuel-efficient hybrids into the longer term. Nonetheless, on the identical time, the ‘smoke’ emanating from the corporate within the type of these emblems strongly hints at a rethink of Mazda’s signature rotary sports activities automotive as effectively.
Along with these titles, Greatest Automotive and others found in early August that Mazda had additionally lodged patent purposes for the aluminum body of a brand new wide-bodied coupe that resembles the RX-Imaginative and prescient rotary idea automotive first proven on the Tokyo Motor Present in 2015. From the diagrams spied, this mannequin seems to boast a 48V system and a rear transaxle rear-drive structure with electrical in-wheel motors on the entrance. Over time, we’ve additionally heard robust rumors that the corporate was growing a rotary engine sports activities automotive powered by hydrogen, however we couldn’t affirm that reality from the drawings.
One different necessary improvement that helps the Mazda rotary sports activities automotive rebirth concept is the truth that Japan, with its Toyota Supra, GR86 and GR-Yaris, Subaru BRZ and WRX, Lexus LC500, Honda Civic Sort R and NSX, Mazda MX-5 and Nissan GT-R sports activities fashions, simply occurs to be the largest producer of sports activities vehicles on the planet right this moment. And it simply may be this coupe proliferation that helps push Mazda over the relatively excessive threshold—on condition that sportscar gross sales should not excessive and financial of scale are arduous to justify—to launch a subsequent technology rotary sports activities automotive. Solely time will inform.