The rotary or Wankel engine is an automotive marvel. It revs higher than an engine with cylinders and weighs far less. It allowed the last-generation Mazda RX-7 to perform more like a slot-car thanks to the light weight of the overall vehicle.
The RX-7 died out mainly because it was a fragile care and din’t last. It had aluminum doors and roof and falling acorns would dent it. We pity people who were in an accident with the car.
The RX-8 was also rotary-powered, had back seats accessed to what the automotive industry terms “suicide doors.” For some reason, this car didn’t make it either. We can’t figure out why.
The Wankel is back at least that is what we keep hearing. Mazda will use a rotary engine to extend the range of its electric vehicles. We first covered this in December of 2015. The small, light engine is said to be perfect for charging on-board batteries.
CNET reports once again what we reported in 2015.
A typical family who typically makes short trips and occasionally makes a long one might have one electric vehicle and one gas-powered. If Mazda can pull this off, a family can have two electrics – one with a range extender for long trips.
The BMW I-3 has a range-extender as well but it isn’t really gaining much traction compared to Tesla.
We’ll see if Mazda has more success with its RX-Vision below.