Mazda’s Rotary Engine May Get a New Mission in the Mazda2

2013 Mazda2Mazda has a new prototype in the works as the company experiments with hybrid technology and California’s rigid zero-emission requirements.

Though Mazda’s new CEO, Masamichi Kogai, originally stated future production of Mazda’s rotary engine would remain halted, that same rotary engine is now being used to transform the Mazda2 hatchback into an extended-range hybrid.

For now, Mazda is calling it the Rotary Engine Range Extender, or RE Range Extender for short.

There are still no plans at the moment to enter this vehicle into production, but as engineers continue to “tinker” with the technology, its benefits may prove worthy of pulling the rotary engine out of retirement.

The RE Range Extender is powered with an electric motor. A 0.33-liter rotary engine uses fuel to recharge a lithium-ion battery. With the modified engine, the RE Range Enxtender could see a range of 248 miles, twice that of the current all-electric Mazda2.

“We are the first and only manufacturer to commercialize the rotary engine,” Kogai told Automotive News in regard to the company’s decision to hang on to the rotary engine even without current plans to continue its use. “In that respect we have some responsibility.”

Based on the present possibilities resulting from Mazda engineers’ tinkering, the rotary engine could become a more valuable option in the near future. We at Bakersfield Mazda will wait with you to see what the automaker decides to do.