EARTH DAY: The Mazda EX-005 was a rotary hybrid built in 1970

1970 Mazda EX-005 Concept

In celebratin of Earth Day, here’s a rotary-powered Japanese nostalgic hybrid. The Mazda EX-005 debuted at the 1970 Tokyo Motor Show and was a bubble approximately the size of an office chair

1970 Mazda EX-005

Actually, it was a 4-seater, but passengers sat back to back and faced out towards its panoramic curved windshields. The car was controlled by joystick and its four wheels were arranged in a rhombus orientation rather than at the four corners (note the wheel wells in the front and rear).

A single-rotor rotary engine charged the batteries (basically a bunch of conventional car batteries hooked together) that power the electric-drive motors. Its companion at the show, the RX-500 sports car, gets the fame, but the hybrid’s spirit would return over 40 years later in the Mazda Demio/2 RE Range Extender prototype. Happy Earth Day!

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7 Responses to EARTH DAY: The Mazda EX-005 was a rotary hybrid built in 1970

  1. Myron Vernis says:

    Best Earth Day post ever.

  2. Bob says:

    This is awesome, and I want one.

  3. Tom Westmacott says:

    Oh wow! Never heard of that before, and I thought I knew all the rotary vehicles.

    The free-thinkingness of the seating and wheel layout recalls the earliest days of motoring, when back to back seating and tiller steering was common, before the ‘standard’ Panhard layout became the fixed pattern.

    Does it still exist? Does it still run? Would be awesome if Mazda could give visitors rides around its Hiroshima base in one!

  4. John Moran says:

    First thinking the containers with prizes from the gumball machines. Then thought little football helmets I used to collect in the ’70s. Seems like teams could use them around the field. Thinking Packers for the top one and USC for the bottom one.

    Of course, it is impossible to look at them without thinking of the RX-Vision. Was there any talk of the RX-Vision being a hybrid?

  5. Leon Dixon says:

    Yes, but I’ll just bet you never saw the Mazda RX-33 concept car! Three rotors and bubble top!

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