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Mazda Confirms the Return of the Rotary Engine

Posted October 17, 2018 9:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: mazda rotary rotary engine

Good news: In an October 2 press release, Mazda Motor Corporation announced that the rotary engine is not dead but will instead be used in a new vehicle — and, potentially, a range of vehicles — currently under development. Bad news: The engine won’t be used to power the drive wheels in a conventional manner, but instead will be used as a range-extender in a battery-electric vehicle.

Part of a long-term vision that Mazda is calling “Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030,” the yet-to-be-classified battery-electric hybrid vehicle will debut alongside a battery-only electric variant, giving consumers options based upon budget and range requirements. To reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 90 percent compared to 2010 levels, the Japanese automaker has pledged to include “some form of electrification” in all of its production vehicles by 2030. In this same time frame, Mazda also expects that 95 percent of its sales will come from “combustion engines combined with some form of electrification,” while the remaining five percent of sales will come from battery-electric vehicles.

Mazda's long-rumored return of the rotary has become official. More on Hemmings.

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#1

Re: Mazda Confirms the Return of the Rotary Engine

10/17/2018 7:47 PM

Exactly what I mentioned in some comments here a few years ago. The rotary could be optimized to run at a set RPM driving a generator for a battery, thus making the most of its power/weight ratio .

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Re: Mazda Confirms the Return of the Rotary Engine

10/18/2018 12:26 PM

It would be interesting to know if your comment on CR4 played a role in this design decision. I doubt your comment inspired the approach but it might have been part of the corroborating chorus.

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#2

Re: Mazda Confirms the Return of the Rotary Engine

10/17/2018 10:14 PM

I thought this was a rotary engine . . . .

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#3
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Re: Mazda Confirms the Return of the Rotary Engine

10/17/2018 10:34 PM

Ya call THAT a rotary engine?

THIS is a rotary engine:

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Re: Mazda Confirms the Return of the Rotary Engine

10/18/2018 10:50 AM

That's a radial engine actually. I know, I know many in the aeronautic field call that a rotary engine but the combustion chamber doesn't rotate unless the plane rotates.

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Re: Mazda Confirms the Return of the Rotary Engine

10/18/2018 1:22 PM

That actually is a rotary engine. The crankshaft is affixed to the airframe and the rest of the engine rotates around the fixed crankshaft. The way you can tell a rotary engine from a radial engine is that the rotary engine has the intakes coming out of the crankcase. Rotatry engines also have total loss lubrication systems. In the Second World War, the radial engine was used on many aircraft like bombers and the Thunderbolt among others.

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Re: Mazda Confirms the Return of the Rotary Engine

10/18/2018 3:08 PM

So that's from a WWI Fokker. They were the only ones I knew of that used such an atypical approach of spinning the engine block. I always wondered how the fuel could possibly get to the engine without leaking all over the place at some rotating seal. The gyroscopic twist to the plane must have been something fierce. With the moment of inertia being so high the throttling of propeller speed must have been slow, too.

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10/18/2018 9:49 PM
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Re: Mazda Confirms the Return of the Rotary Engine

10/19/2018 12:50 PM

Sure looks like a good match to me, but in truth, I'm not exactly sure.

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Re: Mazda Confirms the Return of the Rotary Engine

10/19/2018 3:45 PM

I stand corrected. (Well actually I usually sit at my computer.) Many of the WWI aircraft used rotary engines. The Wankel rotary engine rotates the combustion chamber but without spinning the exterior of the engine compartment.

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#7

Re: Mazda Confirms the Return of the Rotary Engine

10/18/2018 2:37 PM

Radial = round

Rotary = goes round

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#12

Re: Mazda Confirms the Return of the Rotary Engine

10/21/2018 7:53 PM

In 1971 I bought my first car, an RX2, USA sales then being only in Texas, California, and Washington. Quietest, smoothest-running, and quickest acceleration of any car I have owned since. Since then I have never seen any car with so much space under the hood, and such a compact engine. Always felt that the engine could be designed/tuned for operation at a constant speed/load, with substantial results in increased fuel economy and emissions reductions. The use in a hybrid is well worth pursuing.

--John M.

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