Mazda is to launch a range extender electronic car in 2013 with a range extender Wankel engine powered by hydrogen.
Mazda are not having the easiest of times at the moment. They’re struggling to move the Wankel engine forward and are being crippled by the strength of the Yen. But there is light on the horizon.
Plans are afoot to share the next MX-5 platform with Alfa Romeo and Sergio Marchionne wants to build Mazdas in Fiat factories in Europe to fill spare capacity and, in the process, free Mazda from the shackles of the Yen.
And now it looks like Mazda are about to bite the bullet on an electric car with a Wankel range extending engine powered by hydrogen which, according to Mazda boss Takashi Yamanouchi, will be available to lease from 2013.
Yamanouchi told Japan’s Nikkei that the Wankel engine is perfect as a range extender as it is easy to make it compact and safe and the Wankel engine works very well at constant revs, which is ideal as a battery charger.
Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen the idea of a Wankel engine being used as a range extender. Audi planned the same for the A1 e-Tron, but that has now been shelved as Audi appears to have decided there is no profitable future for the electric car.
Mazda seem to feel differently, and the Mazda EV with a range extender Wankel engine is a logical step on from the Mazda Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid (pictured above), which was a hydrogen powered hybrid Mazda produced a couple of years ago.
Looks very promising.
Source: The Nikkei