rotary engine regeneration
Mazda Europe, Mazda’s European subsidiary, has announced that it will unveil the MX-30 range extender for the first time at the Brussels Motor Show in Belgium (January 14-22, 2023).
A range extender is a type of EV (electric vehicle) that has an engine or other prime mover dedicated to a generator in order to extend the cruising range.
In Mazda’s case, the engine to be installed is a rotary engine.
Mazda’s rotary engine vehicles have been vacant for about 11 years since the “RX-8”, which sold a total of about 190,000 units between 2003 and 2012.
Why did Mazda revive the rotary engine at this time?
Looking back, Mazda’s rotary engine history has been full of twists and turns…
Mazda’s rotary engine began in the 1960s with a technical partnership with Germany’s NSU and Wankel. “Cosmo Sports” appeared in 1967, six years after the technical partnership.
From the 1970s to the 1990s, Mazda continued to develop its own rotary engine.
However, while the entire car industry is in the midst of exhaust gas regulations, Mazda is the only company in the world that produces large-scale rotary engines for mass-produced vehicles.
The next “RX-7” may not come true…
Under such circumstances, after the mid-1990s Mazda faced a crisis of Rotary’s survival.
With the end of production of the “RX-7”, the concept model displayed at the 1995 Tokyo Motor Show was the “RX-01”, which was an image of the next RX-7.
However, Mazda was under the Ford umbrella at the time, and the project was forced to scale back significantly due to management simplification.
Despite this, Mazda officials insisted that the rotary fire should not be extinguished, and fiercely negotiated with Mazda’s top management. As a result, the mass-produced car will be changed to a 4-door, 4-seater, instead of a 2-door sports car like the “RX-7”, and development will continue.
The “RX-EVOLV” displayed at the 1999 Tokyo Motor Show appeared as a concept model. This lead to the “RX-8” displayed at the 2001 North American International Auto Show (often called the Detroit Show).
The author (Takeshi Momota) happened to be present at the development site using the general circuit “RX-8” in the United States due to another incident.
At that time, Mazda was using the BMW 3 Series as a comparison vehicle with the North American market in mind.
In the end, the appearance of the production model “RX-8” had to wait until the 2003 Detroit Auto Show, four years after the appearance of the “RX-EVOLV.”
After that, I participated in the “RX-8” international test drive event held in Lagunaca, California, and at that time, I heard many stories from Mazda officials about the struggles towards mass production of “RX-8”.
Mazda nickname “rotary engine” revival[gweler cerbydau ag offer injan cylchdro fel RX-7 a RX-8]All 118 photos