Reports that Mazda is killing the rotary are not true

Even though Mazda’s new rotary engine is not slated for a sports car, many Mazda enthusiasts have been eagerly awaiting its return. However, several English media outlets are reporting today Mazda’s rotary engine is once again on the back burner, with some even saying it’s dead. These are not accurate, according to Mazda.

On June 28, it was reported by Nikkei Shimbun newspaper that Mazda has quietly scrapped all development of what we’ve dubbed the RERE (rotary engine range extender destined for the MX-30). Reasons cited included high development cost due to the need of a larger battery, potentially driving the retail price up.

That was picked up by trade publication Automotive News, which wrote an article titled “Mazda’s rotary range extender on hold.” While it quotes the Nikkei article about it being canceled altogether, Automotive News did manage to get a quote from Mazda representative Masahiro Sakata, who said “We are still considering using rotary engine as a range extender, but the timing of its introduction is undecided.”

That prompted several other sites to describe the rotary as having been put on the “back burner” and some to come out with headlines like “Mazda MX-30 rotary hybrid cancelled.”

However, the original report by the Nikkei that set all of this off is wrong. The Japanese site Response had already reached out to Mazda, and reported on July 2 that a Mazda representative officially confirmed that there is no change in their rotary engine plans.

Those plans, announced on June 17, revealed Mazda’s electrification strategy for the next decade, including its transition to electrification and details about its straight-six, RWD platform. A total of 13 new models were announced: five hybrid, five plug-hybrid, and three all-electric vehicles with the rollout starting in 2022.

Response believes that confusion stemmed from a statement that said the plans do not include the rotary engine as a driving force. That is true; the RERE is a range extender that powers an electric motor to charge the MX-30’s battery, which then drives the cars, but the rotary is not technically used to spin the car’s wheels.

Mazda believes that the rotary engine’s compact form factor, lack of vibration, and its willingness to continuously operate at optimal speeds will make it an ideal range extender. Furthermore, the rotary is a signature technology for Mazda an integral part of the firm’s heritage and identity. The time may not be right for a rotary-powered sports car, but the RERE is laying the groundwork for when (or if) that time ever arrives.

Remember, the only thing the Mazda representative said was that the timing of its introduction has not been decided yet. It was thought that the RERE MX-30 would debut in the U.S. by the end of the year. That timing may be delayed, as Mazda must prioritize the rapidly inclusion of EVs and hybrids into its lineup in order to meet increasingly strict limits on gasoline-powered car sales around the world. If it’s not allowed to sell cars, there will be no Mazda, period. As such, we can understand how the MX-30 might not arrive according to its original timeline.

That’s quite common with a company of Mazda’s size, and shouldn’t be construed as a canceling of the rotary altogether. It’s not the first time a Mazda release has been delayed. It’s not the first time the Nikkei has been wrong, either. Just last month, it reported on the death of the Skyline, prompting a strongly worded correction by Nissan. Let’s not presume it’s dead before it’s even released.

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6 Responses to Reports that Mazda is killing the rotary are not true

  1. Damian says:

    I hope they improve the thermal efficiency of the rotor housing, and do something about gases escaping past the spark plug. Improve these issues and let’s hope for a novel product in the near future.

  2. XRaider927 says:

    Strike two for Nikkei Shimbun…. One more strike and things will go south in a matter of seconds… Non-stop…. Their rumors not confirmed by the manufacturer is just sometimes misleading…

  3. crank_case says:

    As much as people would love to see the rotary live on, surely a micro-turbine with some sort of NOx filtering is ultimately a better solution if it can be made work?

  4. Mark F Newton-John says:

    It looks like the time for the rotary engine as a primary power source is dead. Poorer fuel economy, less torque, poorer emissions make it a less viable motive source in these battery EV days. With more manufacturers saying they’re dropping internal combustion engines, the rotary is becoming a dead end.

  5. Greg mazur says:

    Look for the rotary to return in a hydrogen/gasoline engine. Capable of either or on demand.
    The design of the rotary isolating the combustion chamber from the intake will prove
    To be a huge advantage in a hydrogen fuel engine.

  6. Greg mazur says:

    Hydrogen is the fuel of the future. The Japanese already understand that ev cars would require more nuclear power plants. The US electric grid system can not support the
    Energy transfer from gasoline to electricity. Other characteristics of ev cars such as
    Heating and ac are major problems. Before any country can produce ev cars on
    Scale the production of electricity from a source other than fossil fuels must be solved.
    The rotary can by design run on hydrogen and
    Any emission issues present with the rotary are eliminated. No it will not have the performance of todays rotary but will retain the simple reliability of the rotary.

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