Inside Line, a free online car magazine, says the two companies have had informal talks to explore the possibility of joining forces to develop rotary engines. Audi recently unveiled the A1 hatchback-based e-tron concept, which features a 254cc Wankel range-extender located beneath the trunk floor. There are now less than 100 engineers working on the existing Renesis engine, says a senior insider at Mazda. However, a newly developed laser ignition system promises a big step forward. Laser ignition does away with the need for spark plugs, making it easier to seal the Wankel's trochoidal combustion chamber for improved efficiency and reduced hydrocarbon emissions.
If a funding source is found, the mid-term aim is to develop a new rotary sports car capable of producing just 130g of CO2 per km compared to the polluting 299g/km of the current RX-8. Contributing to this huge improvement are micro-hybrid technology, auto stop/start function, usage of lightweight materials etc.