Late last year brought us news that Mazda was preparing to launch their first electric model.
Since 2013, Mazda's specialists tested several Mazda Demio (Mazda2) copies from the previous generation equipped with an electric propulsion and a Wankel rotary engine, with the role of a generator. This technology will find its place in a future electric model which Mazda plans to release in 2019.
The electric vehicle will be a compact one the size of a Mazda2 model and will have an electric motor that will act the front wheels and be powered by a battery pack located under the rear seat, and below the luggage compartment the Wankel rotary engine, which will serve as a range extender, will be fitted. The internal combustion engine will have only one rotor, which will be operated, if necessary, to extend the electric vehicle's range.
First of all, we find out about the new model that it will be small. Therefore, it will most likely compete directly with the Renault Zoe. As stated byf Matsuhiro Tanaka, the new model will surprise through a general design that is different from what we know at the moment. The Japanese manufacturer wants to develop a new design philosophy, totally different from the one that we currently find in Mazda's portfolio.
Mazda chose a rotary engine not just because of the ample story with such engines, but also because of its compact size, low weight, low noise when working in constant rotation and the ability to use different types of fuel.
Here's hoping that rotary engines will be reborn, not only as generators in electric vehicles, but in sports cars, like the RX series, which was prefaced by the exceptional concept RX-Vision.
During the same press statement Matsuhiro Tanaka said the possibility of a fully electric car is one of the alternatives which is taken into account by Mazda. He also said that a small car is ideal for an electric model because big cars have a higher total weight due to the larger battery. He also shown that the new model will have a different design because it will be developed based on new technology. The Japanese said the new model will be built from extremely light materials.
Therefore, some specialty publications appreciated as a very interesting idea that the new model will benefit from the contribution of a combustion engine with range extender role. Such technology can be found, for example, on the BMW i3. However, Mazda is not completely foreign to such an idea, the Mazda 2 prototype benefiting from such equipment in 2013.
However, until this moment these rumors have not been confirmed in any way by any of the Japanese manufacturer's representatives. That's in spite of Tanaka arguing that such a solution has potential: the rotary engine is stable and quiet at standard rpm. Also, the performance levels would not be affected and the savings in terms of fuel consumption could be increased even more.