Mazda to launch full EV and rotary hybrid in 2020

by James Attwood, Autocar Uk 03 Oct 2018

Mazda has confirmed that it will launch its first two electrified cars in 2020: a full battery EV and a rotary-engined hybrid range extender.

The Japanese firm has a long history of producing rotary-engined cars but hasn’t had one in its line-up since the RX-8 went out of production in 2012. The firm has been developing the rotary hybrid for several years, with engine boss Mitsuo Hitomi previously telling Autocar UK the powertrain would be “much, much quieter” than other hybrids.

Mazda believes that the small size and comparatively high output of a rotary engine make it easier to include multiple ‘electrification solutions’ – suggesting it could utilise several small electric motors. Mazda says the rotary engine will also be able to run on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

Regarding its full EV, Mazda said it is “committed to the pursuit of driving pleasure”, adding that it will exploit the advantages of an electric powertrain to produce cars that fulfill its commitment to “the exhilaration of driving”.

Mazda didn’t give any details of what form the EV or rotary hybrid cars would take, or whether they will be new cars or versions of existing models. 

The firm has committed to reducing its ‘well-to-wheel’ CO2 output – emissions produced in the manufacturing process as well at the tailpipe – to 50% of 2010 levels by 2030 and to 90 percent by 2050.

To achieve that, Mazda says it expects its entire range to be electrified by 2030, with 95 percent of its cars featuring some form of hybrid powertrain. The remaining 5 percent will be full electric vehicles.

However, Mazda bosses have raised doubts that pure EVs are the only route to reducing wheel-to-well emissions, noting that how clean the electricity is depends on where it is produced. 

Mazda has been developing a wide range of technology, including more efficient compression ignition petrol engines and algae-based biofuels – and it says the latter could be “critical” to achieving carbon neutrality of cars in the future.

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