Every few months, it seems a rumor crops up about plans from Mazda to revive the rotary engine. Last November, its CEO said the only way another one could happen is if the project was profitable, and then a month later the automaker showed off the Mazda2 RE Range Extender with a 330cc Wankel engine mounted in the rear. Now, Australian auto site Motoring reports that the PHEV may actually make production in the next-gen Mazda2 sometime after it's initial launch.

Martin Benders, managing director of Mazda in Australia, spoke to Motoring about the company's future with hybrids and basically reiterated what the CEO said last year. The Japanese automaker only plans to offer electrified powertrains in places where they can sell in sufficient numbers to be profitable, like Japan.

Mazda has been playing with the rotary range-extender idea for years. In the RE prototype, the engine was exclusively used to charge the lithium-ion batteries when they were running low, and a 100-horsepower electric motor provided all of the propulsion. It gave the little hatch an estimated range of about 250 miles. The company reportedly took inspiration from its Skyactiv engines to make the Wankel have lower friction and a lighter weight.

The next-generation Mazda2 is rumored to debut during the Paris Motor Show wearing Mazda's Kodo design language. While the hybrid supposedly won't be part of the initial launch lineup, the internal combustion powertrain lineup will consist of gas and diesel versions of Mazda's 1.5-liter Skyactiv four-cylinder. However, the new diesel version is not likely to be available in the US.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 41 Comments
      tdierig
      • 5 Months Ago
      The rotary-engine working as a range-extender is a good idea, since those engines can reach pretty good efficiency at certain rpms. But it's not new. Volkswagen and Audi are selling that technology in their EVs already.
      • 5 Months Ago
      Nice!
      Chris A.
      • 5 Months Ago
      I really want to replace my '13 Mazda3 when it goes off lease in 2016 with something like a Chevy Volt. I don't overly care for GM, though, and the capacitive interior controls are a big turnoff. What I really wish is if Mazda would make a PHEV version of the 3. I love Mazda and I want something fun to drive, but the idea of an electric/hybrid really appeals to me as well.
        BipDBo
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Chris A.
        The used market looks really good right now for EVs. There are a lot of used Volts and Leafs coming off of leases with very low miles. The benefit of the tax rebates are essentially already reflected in the used car price. One dealer in my sate of Florida has numerous Leaf and Volts. Leafs start at $15,000 with 35K miles. They have one that is practically brand new with only 5,000 miles going for only $18K. They also have two Volts, one for only $18K with 35K miles. Here's the dealer: www.offleaseonly.com FYI: I am no way affiliated with this dealer, but if I needed a new car today this is where I'd go.
      mitytitywhitey
      • 5 Months Ago
      Doesn't really satisfy the rotary fanboy urges. No mechanical connection between rotary and driver, and constant rpms mean that only a high school brat will attempt to brag about having a Wankel in this. So not really much different than having a miller-cycle 1-cylinder in the trunk. In fact, I'll bet 99% of buyers won't know its a Wankel at all.
      Bill
      • 5 Months Ago
      I would probably not buy a PHEV version, but I'm getting antsy as hell about the next Mazda2. I need/want a new car and I'm holding out to see if the next Mz2 could be "it". I think it could be but I won't know for sure unless I see it.
      Cruising
      • 5 Months Ago
      I wonder what the final cost of the car will be with this option.
      Enginman
      • 5 Months Ago
      Actually the range extender will be a turbine that runs on farts, a "PieActive" if you will..
      Andre Neves
      • 5 Months Ago
      Just stop with these inefficient, unreliable rotaries already!
      Jmaister
      • 5 Months Ago
      worst than the inefficient rotaries...these rumor mill, does nothing at all.
      FordGo
      • 5 Months Ago
      The electric motor is the perfect "rotary" engine.
      David
      • 5 Months Ago
      Isn't it true that "sometime after initial launch" is Mazda-speak for "Never"? To wit: Mazda3 Diesel, Mazda3 S-GT with Manual Transmission.
        Narom
        • 5 Months Ago
        @David
        Just because they dont sell them in america doesnt mean they dont elsewhere.
      FordGo
      • 5 Months Ago
      IT should be on the Mazda 3.
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