Mazda’s Rotary Dreams Take a Step Closer to Reality


The rotor heads have spoken and Mazda has listened. Following a rapturous reception for its Iconic SP concept car Mazda is now working on bringing a rotary-powered sports car to market.

“I am very happy and deeply moved by all the support and encouragement I have received for the compact sports car concept,” said Mazda President and CEO Masahiro Moro at the 2024 Tokyo Auto Salon. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all. With your encouragement, we are launching a rotary engine development group on 1 February to move closer to this dream.”

The Wankel wonder has recently been revived in the MX-30 where a single-rotor version serves as a range extender for the car’s electric powertrain. It took Mazda much longer than anticipated to get this setup working, overcoming the rotary’s thirst for gas and oil, while improving reliability and emissions. In the MX-30 the motor can operate at its most efficient, running at an almost constant speed to recharge the car’s batteries.


That kind of setup doesn’t sound like the makings of a thrilling sports car, but Mazda has previously applied for patents for multi-rotor hybrids which could provide more high-revving excitement. Combining electric and rotary power would provide the low-end torque that’s always been missing from Wankel’s smooth operator.

Another ambitious option could be to adopt e-fuels as Mazda is involved in a research program to produce gasoline from algae which would be carbon-neutral. Finally, hydrogen is still out there on the horizon. As far back as 2003 Mazda proved that it could run the rotary on H2, and even leased a small fleet of converted RX-8 Hydrogen REs to customers in Norway to run up and down the country’s so-called Hydrogen Highway.

Moro-san’s announcement put no timeline on the project, but whatever form the rotary’s return to a sports car takes, we’re here for it.




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    Everyone like to talk new Hybrids and how wonderful they are. And yes some like the E Vette and others do some cool things.

    What few like to talk about or ever show is what happens in 10 years,

    Many Hybrids begin to lose their batteries around the time the Warranty is past. Often this leaves an expensive battery to buy and even more in labor.

    I have seen this first hand over the years. Often it leads to a car that is worth less at trade in even if you try to dump it.

    One case I just saw was the Chevy Hybrid truck. It was for sale with a failed system for much less than auction value. It needed a $4000 battery and with labor of 36 hours it was $10,000 to fix it and the truck with 69K miles was worth $11K.

    If it was a normal truck with twice the miles it was worth $17K.

    I have seen the same in a number of sedans too.,

    An old Hybrid is like an old cell phone. Old tech, worn out tech and no one wants it.

    Mazda tried to bring back the memory of the RX line and it last for a short while. Outside a Miata, Corvette and 911 few sports cars last 10 years. It is a limited market and few can really make money on them.

    I love the looks of this car but I fear it will be forced to follow a path that will make it less than it could be just to meet the coming regulations.

    CARB laws will destroy many of the cars we love. Even the ones we hate.

    The Chevy Hybris was short lived and it’s not an indictment of all hybrids that this particular vehicle had an expensive battery. Ideally an EV and a hybrid will have a battery that lasts the life of the vehicle, although a hybrid was a relatively small 1.0 to 1.5kwh battery should be economical to replace at least once in the life of the vehicle. Prius batteries can last more than 300,000 miles. All this talk about a pure EV future is just that – talk. The current EV battery tech is not good enough – too heavy, too expensive, too slow to charge, inadequate range. We will continue to have gas power red vehicles no matter what anyone claims. The hydrocarbon infrastructure isn’t going anywhere.
    I hope Mazda builds this vehicle, but it will be too expensive and that will doom it. The Miatas secret to success is its affordability – I own one.

    You picked probably the worst example of a hybrid out there. As of late the quality of any Chevy product has been suspect. I know of Toyota hybrids with well over 300,000 miles with nothing more than regular scheduled maintenance

    I just took a quick look at out Hybrid batteries. They start off with the very small ones like a Prius around $1400 but most are $2000 to $4000.

    I have some that go higher like for Dodge that are $8000.

    These prices do not include the core charges that can be much more till the battery is returned.

    Thes prices were for mostly Toyota, Ford, Lincoln and Mopar. Sales are steady and prices increasing.

    Note too that you still have tune up. oil changes and the same up keep as any regular ICE. This is after you pay more for the Hybrid. So you would need to save a lot of gas to get the money back.

    Okay you went full conspiracy theory there with your government overreach and activist this and that rant. That pretty much destroys your argument. Try using facts alone, it’s a lot more persuasive. You said a Prius battery is $1400 – not too bad. Now how much is a 10 speed automatic transmission in an ICE vehicle? Everything requires maintenance. Prove that a hybrid costs more to operate over the long run and do it with facts. NYC taxi drivers might want to have a word.

    If his type were taken seriously, we’d still have leased gas, one-piece steering columns, and no airbags. Sometimes The Consumer isn’t right and the industry needs a push, otherwise progress doesn’t happen. And just because it doesn’t happen over night and free EV chargers don’t pop up on every corner doesn’t mean it’s not worth pursuing.

    We are not talking solid column or airbags here are we?

    But since you brought it up you may note bags were available in the early 70’s. But the truth was they were not ready for prime time in every car. At least back then common sense prevailed and they waited till they were improved to do less damage to the drivers and cost less to install.

    Even then we still had to go to a two stage bag because they were still breaking necks on smaller passengers.

    I have nothing against EV models. Just don’t push a hybrid that is an added cost to buy, maintain, replace the battery and lower resale and act like it is a sweet deal.

    Just keep working on an EV that would get people to buy it because it truly is ready for the market range wise and cost wise. Do not force it on a market before it’s time.

    FYI you had better take this seriously as the far left green folks are far from done. The day is coming that you may not be able to enjoy your hobby.

    I can be find millions for just the sale of one wrong gas jug to California. You can be find for just a cat back exhaust in NY and some other states. There more to come.

    Not conspiracy. If you so simple investigations even with The NYT they will bare this out.

    I deal with this at work daily.

    Go to SEMA and read up on their actions to defend their industry.

    As for the Prius it is the rare exception. Even at $1500 how would you like to invest $2000 min just in a battery? Most are not that cheap.

    The 10 speed is the Same as in the Hybrid and like most they never get their fluid changed in the average car.

    On the other hand you have a Mopar that requires a $5,000 batter before labor that has dash lights on and 100k miles. You can’t afford to fix it and you can’t selling for what it is worth.

    Hybrids are a losing cause. They are half a$$ ICE and half a$$ EV. It has all the liabilities of both not just one.

    I have seen people with these losses a good amount of money.

    The reason the Prius is cheaper is the battery is so small and it is not as much hybrid as most. They get good mpg because they are small and light unlike most hybrids.

    Ugh, will Mazda just give up on the rotary finally? It hasn’t worked in over a decade and the way the industry is going, it’ll be a non-starter. They already get great mpg from their sky-activ motors, why not pair one with a hybrid drive and be done with it.
    Also “combining electric and rotary power would provide the low-end torque that’s always been missing from Wankel’s smooth operator” or…you know…they could just go full electric because an EV motor makes usable torque, has a 5-figure redline, AND is smoother than a rotor (and doesn’t burn oil just as a matter of existence.)

    The rotary powered RX-7 holds a special place in my heart, especially the turbo cars. Do I want to see it come back? No, especially as some hybrid or generator. It had it’s time. Mazda can do a coupe with the turbo inline 6, that might interest me.

    There was talk of a Mazda 6 with an inline 6 a while back. I guess that died on the vine. Might have been a great car.

    As a small potatoes shareholder in Mazda I am a little worried about their hubris. Where is the EV roadster I want? It’s not coming from Tesla anytime soon, at least not at a price I can afford! I would absolutely love to purchase an all electric driven Miata. Pardon my french, but fu$# hybrids, I can’t stand their CVTs rubberbanding and the only way to get good economy is to accelerate at a snails pace.

    I saw an artical about the “inside out Rotary engine” where the rotor is a figure of 8 shape instead of triangle,,, i think. Anyway that looked like a perfect evolution,,,,,,

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