Mazda has confirmed the rotary engine will return in 2020. 

The beloved engine will serve as a range extender in a future hybrid. The hybrid will launch alongside a pure electric vehicle in 2020, Mazda says. In a statement, the automaker said the rotary range extender is well suited for use as a range extender due its compact size, quiet operation and high power output.

“Mazda will initially launch two battery EVs. One powered solely by battery, the other pairing a battery with Mazda’s small, lightweight and exceptionally quiet rotary engine as a range-extender,” the automaker said in a release. “The range-extender will recharge the battery when necessary to increase the vehicle’s driving range, eliminating the range anxiety which continues to trouble a high percentage of battery EV users.”

“The rotary engine’s small size and high power output make multiple electrification technology solutions possible via a shared packaging layout,” it added. “Taking advantage of the rotary engine’s compatibility with gaseous fuels, the rotary-powered range extender is designed to also burn liquefied petroleum gas and provide a source of electricity in emergencies.”

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The rollout of the hybrid and pure EV are part of Mazda’s Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030 vision, which aims to reduce Mazda’s corporate emissions from its 2010 levels by 50% by 2030. The automaker says also hopes to send examples of its rotary range extender hybrid to “areas affected by natural disasters,” in order to provide “LPG-generated electricity for those in need,” which represents another part of the 2030 corporate vision.

Mazda also said it will be “exploiting the advantages of electric drive in combination with the company’s proprietary technologies to produce EVs that not only comply with ever tightening environmental restrictions, but also fulfill its ongoing commitment to Hashiru Yorokobi  -the ‘exhilaration of driving’.”

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