Mazda is launching a new electric car next year, and it will be available with a rotary range-extender engine.

Over the recent years, Mazda has publicly said it remains committed to the rotary engine, but it’s sounding more like it won’t be used in a performance sports car. In an interview with Dutch group AutoRAI, Mazda’s European sales chief, Martijn ten Brink, said the rotary range extender will appear on a new electric car that shares its platform with the next-generation Mazda3. Although he didn’t say it conclusively, he suggested a crossover body style would make sense.

As for the rotary engine itself, it will be a single-rotor unit without a turbocharger, and its compact design takes up no more space than two shoe boxes. It’s been developed to operate so smoothly that drivers will not even notice when the rotary engine is operating.

Mazda has been testing the idea of using a rotary engine as a range extender in an electric vehicle for quite some time. The Mazda2 RE Range Extender Concept was unveiled in 2013, and it sounds like the system heading to the production car next year is similar. In the Mazda2, it was a single-rotor 0.33-liter engine that could provide an additional 111 miles of range on a full tank of gas.

[Source: Fox News]

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