Mazda has said its rotary engine could be used as a range-extender in a future autonomous Toyota EV.
Speaking to WardsAuto in Detroit, Mazda North America’s president and CEO, Masahiro Moro, said the rotary engine has been under continuous development within Mazda. The company teamed up with Toyota on its e-Pallete concept for CES 2018, which is essentially a self-driving, fully autonomous electric mobility pod, and says the rotary could be used on a production version of the vehicle to boost its overall range.
“Well, (the) rotary engine is our heart-line," Moro said. "I think a rotary engine could be a generator in the near-term to contribute to electrification."
"announced the e-Palette,” he added. “ is a technical partner. That technical (partnership) means they need our rotary range-extender technology," he says.
This isn’t the first time Mazda has expressed interest in using the rotary engine as a range extending solution. In October of last year, the automaker said the rotary makes a good EV range-extender as it doesn’t make a lot of noise. There are more efficient motors that could be used, but the rotary is the quietest, the automaker argues. It’s also experimenting with a hydrogen rotary engine. Additionally, the automaker is open to using it in another sports car, although there are currently no concrete plans to do so.