Reader Question: Rotary Comeback?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

David writes: Are you tracking on this?

Last year Mazda confirmed plans to use a new rotary engine as a range-extender for a plug-in hybrid model. We’re likely to see one of those revealed alongside the latest pure electric vehicle in Tokyo, if not sooner than that. In this type of application, the engine doesn’t propel the vehicle directly, but simply works as a generator to provide electricity for an electric motor when the battery runs low. Rotary engines are much lighter, so it might make sense. I wouldn’t mind seeing the a new RX-something either.

My reply: GM already did this with the Volt. A small gas engine served as a “range extender.” Not a bad idea, but the Volt failed. Chiefly because it still cost too much to buy relative to what most people could expect to save on fuel.

I doubt Mazda or any other car company will pursue this because a car with a gas engine, regardless of type – or cost – will not meet  the “zero emissions” standard and thus won’t help them meet the “zero emissions” production quotas.

Note that hybrids are being abandoned, notwithstanding their functional (and economic) superiority to pure EVs or the fact that their emissions are so slight as to be irrelevant in terms of any harms caused to “the environment.”

That doesn’t matter because facts no longer matter.

Politics matter.

EVs are politically correct; hybrids aren’t. They still “emit” the dread gas, carbon dioxide and are thus going to kill us all.

Just ask Greta.

. . .

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  1. Hybrids have a more basic problem than political favor: extra cost & complexity. You have two drivetrains, not one. I always saw hybrid cars as an interim technology, at best.

  2. Probably very little left of development money in IC. All being spent on chasing electric.

    We will be bailing out the car companies,,,,,again…..


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