Rotary engines that when powered the gorgeous Mazda RX-7 two-seater, rear-wheel-drive coupe—a five-time winner of a coveted spot on Car and Driver’s Ten Best autos list—were phased out by 2012. Their popularity in the 1970s and 1980s was boosted by their compact design and low weight, but they lost favor as a consequence of poor fuel effectivity in an increasingly environmentally conscious period.
But it seems Mazda is reinventing the wheel. Patent papers revealed in Japan show the auto manufacturer is planning a complex restructuring of the engine that could pave the way for a new era of low-weight, high-performance vehicles.
Mazda, in reality, had already revealed plans for the net year’s electric SUV MX-30 that will incorporate a rotary engine for the first time since 2011, when the RX-7’s successor, RX-8, ended manufacturing due to falling sales.
The new hybrid drive envisions a front-mounted combustion engine coupled with an electric motor that controls the rear wheels. In addition, the entrance wheels would each carry their own electrical motors running at a higher voltage than the rest of the automobile.
The system utilizes a comparatively low-power 3.5 kWh lithium-ion battery to handle the rear wheels, which is predicted to be sufficient for typical acceleration in city driving.
When more energy is required, two inverters and an under-the-hood double-layer capacitor will come into play. The capacitors deal with energy switch more effectively than the lithium-ion batteries. Those capacitors would be charged by the engine and also by regenerative braking.