Mazda in February will establish a team dedicated to the development of rotary engines, CEO Katsuhiro Moro announced during this past weekend’s 2024 Tokyo Auto Salon.
He said last year’s Iconic SP concept, an electric sports car with a rotary serving as a range-extender, was well received, and with this encouragement the automaker will establish the new rotary development team to “move closer to this dream.”
Mazda already offers a vehicle with a rotary engine. In select markets, the automaker’s MX-30 electric compact crossover is available with a rotary range-extender.
A similar setup was used for the Iconic SP concept, which could preview a future production sports car. Mazda didn’t provide specifics on the concept’s powertrain but said the range- extender is a compact twin-rotor rotary with a scalable design and the flexibility to run on various fuels, including hydrogen.
Mazda Iconic SP concept
According to Motor1, Mazda previously had a rotary development team but disbanded it in 2018.
That previous team was likely working on rotary engines that could directly power a vehicle’s wheels, instead of via an electric motor. Just three years prior to the previous team being disbanded, Mazda rolled out the RX-Vision concept, a rotary sports car with a traditional front engine, rear-wheel-drive configuration.
However, senior Mazda executives on a number of occasions have made it clear that getting the rotary to meet emissions standards is proving a challenge. It’s why Mazda is now only using rotary engines as range-extenders for EVs.