Speaking to the Australian media at the Tokyo Motor Show today, Mazda’s global boss of R&D, Kiyoshi Fujiwara, said that any initial release of the rotary engine would be without electrification, though he admitted turbocharging is on the agenda.
“If we can produce this kind of engine and this kind of product with rotary engine, firstly I would like to introduce rotary engine itself, no electrification,” Fujiwara said.
“Because if we had help of electrification, people will say this helped the rotary engine, therefore personally I want to introduce the rotary engine without electrification, as the first step, then with severe requirement for CO2 and emission systems, we continue to add some applications.”
Fujiwara also confirmed the rotary engine is a continuation of the work on the 16X, meaning the Mazda rotary engine of the future will be 1.6-litre in capacity. Known a the Renesis II, the 16x made its initial appearance in the Mazda Taiki concept car at the 2007 Tokyo Auto Show. At the time Mazda said it had around 223kW of power.
However, those power figures are likely to change considering the inherent torque defecit of rotary engines will likely lead to some form of assistant technology like turbocharging.
“Yes it is inevitable – [a] turbocharger is one of the big contributors for rotary engine in the future.”
Also, while hybridisation will not be available to start with, Fujiwara says that helping that initial take off speed could potentially be well served by an electric motor.
“Rotary engine has some weakness with low RPM in terms of torque, therefore if we can have a good motor system for helping for that kind of area for low RPM, weakness of the torque range, that is one of the solutions for the future.”
Much like the RX-8 introduced friction welding that filtered down the Mazda range, the new RX sports car will also serve as the basis for new technologies being introduced into the Mazda family.
“Firstly we use this new technology in new sports car then it can be delivered to other passenger cars.”
According to Fujiwara, the engine is very close to starting prototype testing, however the company is focused on making sure that the emission systems, fuel economy and reliability are addressed as top priority before the engine sees full-scale production.