Mazda has confirmed that it will bring back the rotary engine in the “not too distant future” as it sets to unveil a rotary concept at tomorrow’s Tokyo motor show, as we predicted a few months ago.
Speaking to the media at a pre-motor show event in Tokyo tonight, the company’s global head of R&D Kiyoshi Fujiwara said that having a rotary powertrain was “synonymous with strengthening and maintaining the Mazda brand”.
Just like challenging the standard convention of improving on conventional internal combustion engines with SkyActiv technology, Fujiwara says the same principles of “never stop challenging” are applied to making rotary powertrains a possibility in the modern age.
“Nowadays society’s demands to conserve resources and be eco friendly are greater than ever and I think that many believe that the fundamental structural progress with the rotary engine means it will never ben able to meet these demands.” Fujiwara said.
“However, technology is born out of a necessity and it’s advanced by engineers. The same engineers that created SkyActiv technology are working on a brand new rotary engine, updating it with the most cutting edge technology.”
Details or specifications for the rotary engine, or whether it will be coupled to an electric drive or other assistant technologies are yet to be confirmed, however Fujiwara promised that “some day in not to distant future, the rotary engine will return and it will be called SkyActiv R”.
The return of the RX nameplate (likely a RX-9) will certainly follow and allow Mazda to once again have a hero sports car in its range, a model that has been missing since the Mazda RX-8 stopped production in 2012.
“For Mazda engineers the rotary engine is a symbol of never stop challenging spirit. It’s an essential part of the DNA of our brand and it must be passed on to the future engineers.”
Fujiwara said that Mazda wants to “pay homage” to German engineer and the inventor or the rotary engine, Felix Wankel, for his work in making the technology a possibility.
More details and images of the rotary concept are expected tomorrow morning.