Electricity brought Frankenstein’s monster back to life, why not the Wankel?
After ending production of its last car powered by a rotary engine this past June, Mazda CEO Takashi Yamanouchi has confirmed that the unique powerplant will return next year in a new range-extended electric car like the Chevy Volt, according to Autocar.
Rather than propel the vehicle directly, the compact engine will be used as a generator for its electric motors and to charge its battery.
"The rotary has very good dynamic performance, but if you accelerate and brake a lot there are efficiency disadvantages. The range extender overcomes that. We can keep it spinning at its most efficient 2000rpm while also taking advantage of its size," Yamanouchi told the news outlet.
Further details on the vehicle were not revealed, but the automaker has previously tested an electric version of its Mazda5 minivan that used a hydrogen-fueled rotary engine as a range-extending generator.