Mazda’s iconic rotary engine will make a return to Australia, with the brand’s range-extender technology now confirmed for a local debut.
That’s the word from Mazda’s local managing director, Vinesh Bhindi, who promised a “rotary revival of sorts” Down Under once the technology is released globally.
But don’t get too excited. While Mazda executives confirm a performance-focused rotary is a “better than 50 per cent chance” making it to production (while also confirming it could just be a “dream”), Mr Bhindi is actually referring to the brand’s range-extender plans currently being finalised by Mazda HQ.
“We are set for a rotary revival of sorts, with a range extender under development, as well as a plan for electrification in the near future,” Mr Bhindi says. “But all these advances, new technologies and designs are underscored by a love of driving.
“There will be two new EVs in Australia by 2020, and then the plan is, by 2030, that all cars and SUVs in the Mazda range will have some sort of electrification.”
The last rotary engine Mazda used was in the RX-8, which was eventually removed from European markets in 2010 after failing to meet emissions standards.
Mazda has been flirting with the idea of a rotary revival for years, most recently confirming the technology would be used not as an outright power source, but as unique range extender technology as the company moves slowly to battery-electric vehicles.
“The concept behind the rotary-powered range extender was to leverage the rotary engine’s small size and high power output to make multiple electrification technology solutions possible via a shared packaging layout,” Mazda has said in a statement.
“Mazda will strive to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and enhance the joy of driving by deploying compact, lightweight electrification technologies while further refining the internal combustion engine, which is forecast to be equipped in the majority of new cars for many years to come.”