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Mazda’s rotary engine to be a hydrogen-powered range extender for EVs

By FaezClutchless on 19 Jun 2012

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Mazda has used the Wankel rotary engine for nearly fifty years. Other than Mazda’s RX sport cars, they have used it in several other models such as the Cosmo, Luce and even on a pick-up. The rotary engine was also used in auto racing; the only non-piston engine to win a Le Mans in 1991.

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Although the rotary engine is known for being small and powerful but it has one downside to it and that is poor fuel efficiency. It looks as though Mazda is stuck with that problem but they might have a brighter future for the rotary engine as it will be used as a hydrogen-powered range extender for yet-unknown hybrid vehicle.

Mazda Motor Corporation’s president, Takashi Yamanouchi, has revealed that the company will use its rotary engine technology as a supplemental power generator for an electric vehicle which the Japanese automaker plans to start leasing next year. Mazda has planned to stop the production of rotary engines in June this year. But they intend to use that technology to generate power from hydrogen and extend the continuous driving distance of electric vehicles.

A late comer to the electric vehicles market, Mazda intends to narrow that gap with other Japanese automakers by using its proprietary rotary technology. Yamanouchi is very confident in the Wankel, stating very clearly that they “should be able to make the most of the rotary engine’s advantages, such as the ease of making it compact and safe”.

Yamanouchi also stated that Mazda is also looking at boosting production of new models that can be exported without losing money at the current exchange rates and at the same time they should realise sales growth in emerging markets as soon as possible.

Mazda needs to move quickly in this ever changing automotive market which is under threat from hybrids and if Mazda can not offer consumers competitive fuel-sipping alternatives, then they may risk losing out on this customer base.

Photo credit: wallpaper4me.com

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Written by FaezClutchless
Some say that his blood is actually RON98 petrol and some say that his right foot weighs over 20kg. But all that we know about Faez is that he loves to drive and is a JDM enthusiast.

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