Mazda is bringing back its famous rotary engines, but maybe not in the way fans wanted. The Japanese automaker used the Paris Motor Show to confirm the rumors that it’s returning to proper Wankel form.
The rotary engine will be used on electric Mazdas, acting as range extenders, similar to the gas engine on the Chevy Volt or BMW i3. The plan is for the company to make 95 percent of its models hybrids by 2030, with the other 5 percent being purely electric.
One of the biggest reasons to use a rotary engine is its compact size. That helps with packaging issues, plus keeps vehicle weight down. After all, batteries aren’t exactly lightweight. Also, the Wankel boasts high power output, so it will provide plenty of range extension for people who don’t want to get stranded.
Another huge advantage of rotary engines is that they don’t vibrate like traditional gasoline engines. They don’t have many moving parts, so they also run quieter.
Sadly, this isn’t the return of the mighty Mazda RX-7. But, it does mean Mazda will start making rotaries again, even if it’s for a fuel-sipping people mover.