Mazda recently penned a paean to itself celebrating 100 years in business. This, naturally, meant the document also served as a love letter to the rotary engine, since, "The joy of driving, lightweight design and the rotary engine [are] three elements that define Mazda's DNA." One of those elements has been AWOL for eight years, since the end of RX-8 production. After years of rumor feverish enough to impress Slenderman, two years ago Mazda announced it was prepping a rotary range-extender engine for a model to debut in 2020. Here we are in the anticipated year, and we still don't know anything else about that vehicle — or perhaps we do.
When Mazda debuted the MX-30 battery-electric crossover in Tokyo last year, it bore an e-SkyActive powertrain with a 35.5-kWh battery sending current to an e-motor on the front axle producing 141 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. With a range of around 130 miles on the European cycle, even though the crossover was meant for markets like Europe and Japan, almost everyone chimed, "This would be perfect for that range-extender engine."