The Mazda RX8 was the last car from the company to use a rotary engine and its production ended recently. The rotary engine is known to be small and pretty powerful but it has proved to be a rather inefficient engine in terms of fuel economy.
This time round, the rotary engine will be used solely to charge a battery, which will power an electric motor driving the wheels of whichever car it is fitted to. There have been reports of Mazda testing a rotary range extender vehicle that runs on hydrogen but a production version will most likely use regular fuel.
Rotaries are most efficient when they maintain a steady rpm level. Acting as a range extender would allow the engine to operate at a constant rpm. Yamanouchi mentioned that the rotary engine has very good dynamic performance but if a person accelerates and brakes a lot, there will be efficiency disadvantages. The range extender will overcome this by keeping it spinning at its most efficient rpm range at 2,000 rpm.
It was not revealed on what type of vehicle Mazda will use the rotary range extender.
Photo credit: Net Car Show and wallpaper4me