Mazda has revealed that its rotary engine will debut sooner than expected, but the comeback may not excite enthusiasts in the same vein as those in the RX-7 and RX-8. Instead, the new-generation Wankel, dubbed SkyActiv-R, will be predominantly used as a range extender for Mazda’s upcoming electric vehicles.

According to Automotive News, Mazda’s global powertrain boss, Mitsuo Hitomi said a rotary engine makes for an ideal range extender because it’s compact, powerful and doesn’t produce a lot of vibration. A range extender is a necessity in North America because people there typically drive for a much longer distance.

The announcement falls in line with the company’s latest commitment to electrification, a move which will spawn variations of mild hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric Mazda vehicles. To that end, all Mazda cars will be electrified by 2035, but expect an EV to debut sometime in 2019 along with the range extender tech.

“All of our other internal combustion engines will have to have some form of electrification at some point – mild hybrid or 48-volt electrics. So yes, that type of technology could be in rotary engines in the future. However, I believe I would like to introduce the new rotary engine without electrification because I think that is what the rotary engine fans will want,” said a Mazda official.

Hitomi also went on to say that a second, larger and more powerful rotary engine is currently being developed for a high-performance sports car that will slot above the MX-5. The challenge now isn’t about meeting emissions standard, but to make a solid business case for the car and whether or not the company can sell enough cars.