Mazda confirms return of rotary engine as range extender, all vehicles to be hybrids or EVs by 2030

We’ve heard plenty of Mazda’s plan to employ a rotary engine as a range extender, and now, the company has issued an official release confirming the matter. This is part of the company’s electrification and connectivity strategies, which are based on its ‘Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030’ long-term vision.

The Japanese automaker believes the internal combustion engine (ICE) will remain in the majority of new cars for many years to come, but with lightweight electrification technologies that not only further refine the ICE but also reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Following this ideology, Mazda expects that electrified powertrains will account for 95% of the cars it makes, while the remaining 5% are battery electric vehicles (BEVs). In relation to the latter, two battery electric vehicles will be developed, with one being powered solely by a battery pack.

The other introduces a rotary engine to act as a range extender, which receives the following adjectives from Mazda – small, lightweight and quiet. We’re told the compact size and high output of the rotary engine makes it an ideal solution, and it will also run on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

Mazda confirms return of rotary engine as range extender, all vehicles to be hybrids or EVs by 2030

The rotary unit will do what range extenders are meant to do, which is to recharge the battery when necessary to effectively increase the vehicle’s driving range when charging facilities are not within reach. The BMW i3 is an example of a BEV that is offered with and without a range extender.

Mazda is targeting a 90% reduction versus 2010 levels in its corporate average “well-to-wheel” carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, and these electrification efforts are meant to ensure it remains on course.

On the side of connectivity technologies, the company “aims to inspire people and enrich society” by leveraging on its alliance with Toyota for further development. It’s rather vague but Akira Marumoto, Mazda’s representative director, president and CEO, said, “new trends and technologies in connectivity, autonomy, sharing and electrification offer new possibilities for creating ever more attractive cars.”

“Using new technologies based on our unique human-centred development philosophy, Mazda will, in the spirit of ‘Never Stop Challenging,’ continue to pursue the joy of driving and work to create an emotional connection with customers that rivals the strongest brands in the world,” he added.