Mazda Demio (Mazda2 for the rest of the world) prototype fitted with a range extender powertrain comprising an electric motor turning the wheels and a gasoline-fueled 0.33-liter rotary engine in the rear generating electricity for the supermini's lithium ion battery was showed to the press on Thursday in Japan.
According to an Autonews report, Mazda said that while meeting stringent emissions regulations is a problem that needs to be solved, the rotary unit has many advantages, including its small size, running quietly with little vibration, and the ability to burn different fuels.
Like the pure-electric Demio EV, the range-extender hybrid uses a 75kW electric motor to turn the front wheels. The rotary engine is believed to almost double the 200km (124 mile) driving range of the electric model with a 10-liter (2.6 gallon) fuel tank.
Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai told Autonews that while there are no specific production plans, the company is holding on the rotary technology "partially for sentimental reasons".