Speaking to CarAdvice at the Tokyo Motor Show today, Mazda’s global boss of R&D, Kiyoshi Fujiwara, confirmed the rotary engine is primarily for its range-topping sports car, however other applications are still possible.
“This SkyActive R is only for the sports car, of course this kind of technology can be utilised for range extender EV [as well].”
Mazda’s borderline obsession with working on a rotary engine, in the face of all opposing odds, is also not detracting from the company’s other R&D budgets, Fujiwara says.
“99 percent of the R&D resources is used for SkyACTIV gasoline, diesel and other SkyACTIV transmissions so only 0.5-1% is used for rotary engine for this model.”
According to Fujiwara it’s in Mazda’s DNA to produce rotary powertrains, as he jokingly said it keeps his engineers happy.
“That is the great weakness of Mazda, some of the engineers want to produce the rotary engine, and if I stop the rotary engine they will leave. I have to keep these kinds of engineers.”
As for the next-generation Mazda RX sports car, likely to be called RX-9, it will not share its platform with the recently launched MX-5 as Fujiwara claims the company learnt that the previous generation MX-5 and RX-8 sharing the same platform was not necessarily good for either car.
“The former MX5 has used the same platform as the RX8 – both cars are not ideal situation – which means that the RX8 should be another platform and the MX5 MC should be another platform – that is our lesson learnt. Our current MD MX5 – has a comp new platform, just for MX5 – that’s it.”
Mazda’s unveiling of the RX-Vision concept at the Tokyo motor show today marks the official confirmation of the rotary project, however CarAdvice suspects the vehicle won’t hit full-scale production until at least 2020.