Mazda has confirmed it is working on a next-generation rotary engine that may arrive in time for its centenary anniversary in 2020.
Speaking to Australia’s Wheels Magazine, Mazda’s Technical Research Centre and Integrated Control System Development boss, Mitsuo Hitomi, revealed the automaker is working on a new rotary engine. Hitomi said development of the rotary has focused on fixing some of the well-known shortcomings of the engine, such as apex seal wear and oil consumption. He also acknowledged that it isn’t possible to achieve the same emissions levels as a conventional engine in a rotary.
"We’re still continuing development of the next generation rotary engine," Hitomi said.
"We cannot improve the rotary engine to the current conventional engine emissions,” he added. "We are investigating various kinds of emission systems to ensure ideal conditions.”
This focus on fuel burn efficiency was later reiterated by Mazda’s head of product strategy, Hidetoshi Kudo, who told Wheels the automaker was looking at alternative ignition technologies to remedy the problem.
"As you know, flame propagation is an issue in rotary engines. We are looking at laser ignition and plasma ignition, but laser is very expensive," explained Kudo.
Kudo also said rotary engines were “very important” to Mazda before pointing out that 2020 is the automaker’s 100th anniversary. Based on these statements, it seems possible that a rotary-engined Mazda could arrive around that time to mark the automaker’s centenary year. We’ve heard rumors that Mazda could be preparing to show an early draft of a so-called ‘RX-9’ at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show in October, but we remain skeptical such a product will be shown so soon.
No matter when the next rotary-engine Mazda arrives, we can at least take solace in the fact that it is indeed happening. Who says the combustion engine is on its way out?
[Source: Wheels Magazine]
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