The rotary is back, but not in a way many enthusiasts had hoped for
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Mazda says it will launch two electric vehicles in 2020 – one a pure-electric model, and the other complemented by a rotary engine operating as a range extender.

The Hiroshima-based automaker says rotary engines are perfect as range extenders due to their compact size, high power output and quiet operation. The next-generation rotary engine can run on both petrol and liquified petroleum gas (LPG).

Mazda hasn't indicated whether its first two electric cars will be standalone models, or based on existing vehicles. The company's last rotary-powered car, the RX-8, went out of production in 2012.

According to Automotive News the pure-electric car will be aimed at Japan, Europe and China, where commutes tend to be relatively short. The range-extended car will be targeted at the USA where daily travelling distances are significantly longer.

While the company is part of an EV partnership with Toyota and Denso, the industry publication believes Mazda's first EVs will be designed in-house as technologies derived from the collaboration won't be ready in time.

Mazda has committed to reducing its well-to-wheel CO2 output, including production and tailpipe emissions, to half of its 2010 levels by 2030. By 2050, the company hopes to have achieved a 90 per cent reduction.

In order to hit these targets, Mazda will electrify its entire range by 2030. It estimates hybrids will account for 95 per cent of production by 2030, with full electric and range-extended cars accounting for the remaining five per cent.

The company's hybrid efforts have so far been limited to the 3 Hybrid, which uses Toyota technology and is sold primarily in Japan. Mazda says it will continue to work improving the efficiency of internal combustion engines, as well as the SkyActiv-X compression ignition petrol motor.

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