Mazda Patents a Rotary Engine To Use as Range Extender For a Hybrid

Mazda patents rotary engine for plug-in hybrid range extender 5 photos
Photo: Screenshot from Mazda patent filing
Mazda patents rotary engine for plug-in hybrid range extenderMazda patents rotary engine for plug-in hybrid range extenderMazda patents rotary engine for plug-in hybrid range extenderMazda patents rotary engine for plug-in hybrid range extender
Mazda has not given up on rotary technology, but the automaker might employ it for a different kind of automobile.
Instead of powering a car, the rotary engine could be operated by Mazda as a range extender. The unit would be placed below the trunk, and it is imagined to work using a start-stop system. The latter is a first for rotary technology, which is known for having a particular procedure for start-up and shut down.

Mazda’s patent reveals a car that has a front-wheel-drive configuration that would be handled by an electric motor. That motor would be powered by a battery placed under the passenger compartment.

Meanwhile, the internal combustion engine would be fixed under the trunk, and it is meant to recharge the battery when needed. The rotary would have no link to the wheels.

The concept of a range-extender EV is not new in the automotive industry, and Audi has previously showcased a concept vehicle that had a rotary engine as a range extender. Just like Mazda’s solution, it would work with a small capacity unit that was placed under the trunk. Audi did not go through with the car, but Mazda might bring this to a production vehicle.

The second patent filed by Mazda focuses on a start-stop system that is designed to work with the rotary engine, and it was also published on Free Patents Online. The trick with this setup is to calculate the moment when to stop the unit so that the intake port is closed when the unit is not operating. The idea is to prevent fuel, oil, or exhaust emissions enter the intake.

If the carmaker succeeds in building a rotary engine with start-stop technology, it could be a sign of a new life for this category of a motor. Mazda made the last rotary-powered production car, but it was discontinued after the engineers found it too expensive to adapt the unit to stricter emissions rules.
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About the author: Sebastian Toma
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Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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