Usage of rotary engines as a range extender could reduce the need of big batteries inside the vehicle.

Looks like some hope could return to fans of legendary Mazda's rotary engines, that the will once more spun in cars. A glimpse of hope came just recently on current Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where Toyota is presenting its future project of electric vehicles, e-Palette. It is important to note, that this project is not entirely made by Toyota, but as a collaboration of a few companies, one of them being another Japanese car manufacturer, Mazda.

Mazda has been specifically named as a technology partner, to which Jacob Brown, spokesman for Mazda North America added, that Mazda's engineering team will share its powertrain's developments with Toyota, including range extending rotary engine. "Mazda will provide technical information on a (rotary engine) range extender to be used in the vehicle being developed. We will reveal more details at an appropriate time," later added Brown.

No official statment from Toyota yet

There are many reasons, why rotary engine could be a sensible option to be put in a vehicle as e-Palette. Firstly, such engines are much more compact, taking less space. They are also much quieter, thus much more user friendly. And even thou e-Palette, presented on CES has no such engine built inside, it would be a sensible idea to put it in as it would enable the manufacturer to put less and smaller batteries into the vehicle.

Meanwhile there has been no official statement from Toyota about such idea. Companies did however agree to start a joint development of electric vehicles for both brands. A project, in which Denso, their supplier of electrical components will also be involved. It will help to develop and produce miscellaneous electric-vehicle components.

Jure Šujica
Photo: Mazda, Toyota

Jan. 10, 2018 Driving photo: Toyota

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