Mazda can deny it all they want, but there is continually more evidence every month that we will be getting another rotary engine in the not too distant future. This time it seems that Mazda did it a bit more under the radar than the last time.
A few months ago we heard that we were definitely getting another rotary engined Mazda. This was shot down in short order by the company itself. Then we heard someone talking at a conference saying that the next Mazda RX would absolutely have a rotary engine. This dream too was squashed by the company saying that a new RX was not in the works. That was late last month.
Today, we’re reading a bit deeper into the Mazda rotary saga.
According to reports over the weekend, Mazda quietly filed for rotary patents without many people actually noticing at all. Autoblog did some digging and uncovered some interesting news from the US patent office. There are two things to glean here.
Mazda will be making a long range EV/Gas hybrid
There are many different types of hybrid systems out there, but the patent filed seems to be on par with a Chevy Volt. Meaning, an electric motor driving the front wheels while a gas motor located somewhere else feeds the EV system. This particular setup results in MPGs in the hundreds.
This system has been in place for years and could, theoretically, be mounted to any number of Mazda products in the coming years. But what about that rotary?
Start stop for rotary only
Those that have been following the rotary saga will note any little detail as a promising sign. Turns out this one might be VERY promising. The second patent was one for a start/stop system that is rotary specific. Start/stop systems are pretty common these days, but because there is no rotary engine currently on the market for mainstream consumption, this is hugely curious.
It gets even more interesting when you consider how a rotary engine works and how the start/stop is proposed. The patent says it will shut down the rotors themselves “in a position that closes the intake port to ensure no fuel or exhaust emissions slip through the intake tract.” Since a rotary engine has no valves, this is an integral step that must happen in order for a rotary start/stop to work at all. So why would Mazda go to the trouble of filing this patent in the first place? Seems like an awful lot of work for nothing if no rotary engine is coming out. Maybe one is coming out and Mazda will drop a bombshell on us very soon.
This is of course all hearsay and speculation, but when you get race engines that sound like the one below, we can all keep hoping for the day a rotary engine returns to production.