Despite the company’s continued commitment to developing internal combustion engines like the new Sky-activ X, Mazda is planning to launch its first production-ready electric car sometime in 2020. Given the carmaker’s history of developing fun, sporty cars, that should be exciting news for Hiroshima and EV fans alike. Perhaps more exciting, however, is news that Mazda hasn’t given up on a new rotary engine.
“We are jointly developing a new EV architecture with Toyota,” Mazda CEO, Akira Marumoto, explained in an interview with Automotive News Europe– but that’s not the car he’s talking about. He clarified, adding that Mazda “will introduce our own EV on a Mazda architecture in 2020.”
That 2020 electric Mazda is expected to be a unique model– sort of how the Nissan Leaf isn’t a Versa or Sentra, you know? Even so, it’s very probable that it will share a significant amount of hardware with Mazda’s recently redesigned 3 hatchback, and that its styling will borrow heavily from the Kazamai concept (shown). We’ll find out all about it once the car bows at the Tokyo Olympic games. The more important thing we learned from this interview (from a gear-head perspective, at least) is that the next-generation Mazda Wankel rotary engine isn’t dead … and that it may not be solely intended for use as an electrical generator.
Mazda Kazamai Concept Car
“We have continued work on the development of the rotary engine even after we discontinued the RX-8,” Marumoto told ANE. “Its first application will be as a range extender for EVs. Inside Mazda, we all have the dream of seeing one day a vehicle powered by a rotary engine. But, given the number of things we have to do, we had to put this one on the back burner, and we have no time frame.”
Marumoto definitely understands the motoring press’ obsession with its rotary engines, and it’s a smart play to dangle something like that in front of everyone in order to get press for its upcoming EV. It certainly worked on me, anyway! What do you guys think? Will we eventually see another Wankel-engined Mazda, or will they just keep dangling these things in front of us every time they want coverage of a boring press release? Let us know in the comments section at the bottom of the page.