Aurick Go / Mazda | December 07, 2016 11:04
Mazda prioritizes on EV tech, emissions improvement over rotary engine development
In an interview with Automotive News, Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai says that there is no plans to develop a sports car larger than the Miata. If you’re keen on following Mazda’s sports car lineup, this only means one thing: No, there will no longer be a successor to their rotary-engined coupes.
Upon being asked about the proposed successor to the RX-7 with a hybrid powertrain, Kogai said "I think that as a sports car option, the MX-5 1.5-liter or 2.0-liter conventional engine, with its power and acceleration, might be a more thrilling experience."
To say that fans of the Wankel Rotary engine have been waiting eagerly for a successor to the line of Mazda’s pistonless coupe is an understatement. Since the last RX-8 rolled off the Hiroshima plant in 2012 – or even way before that – there has been high anticipation for a rotary-powered sports car that would fill the shoes of the much revered FD RX-7.
As the first decade of the new millenium passed Mazda have been pretty mum about development on the odd motor, with most considering the project to be scrapped entirely. In 2015 though, a flicker of hope finally revealed itself in the form of the RX-Vision concept that was displayed at the Tokyo Motor Show. The vehicle supposedly had a ‘Skyactiv-R’ rotary engine that would have featured new tech to bring the motor up to spec in terms of emmissions. All that seems to be but a mere concept however, as we may not see the coupe in production anytime soon.
Despite this setback however, Kogai remained positive regarding a future rotary powerplant in Mazda’s future products – provided it meets current emmissions standards and makes decent power. "But if we were to restart production of the rotary engine again, we need to make sure it wouldn't be just short-lived. We need it to meet future emissions regulations. We are still conducting our r&d activity to overcome any issues we have with emissions and fuel efficiency."
As it stands, Mazda is instead looking at further improving the efficiency of their lineup by introducing a number of electric vehicles in the near future. Much as we hope that Mazda would continue development, the jurassic workings and horrid fuel consumption of a rotary engine make the task of bringing it to contemporary emmissions standards understandably difficult.