Mazda’s rotary engine was just a bit ahead of it’s time

By Product Expert | Posted in Technology on Thursday, December 27th, 2018 at 7:56 pm
A photo of a special rotary engine badge worn by some Mazda vehicles in the past.

Is Mazda bringing back the rotary engine?

A few weeks ago, we came across a story about how Mazda has renewed the paperwork to hold the trademark on the RX-8 model name. This sparked a flurry of rumors and speculation across internet forums that the automaker was going to bring it back into production, hopefully with the revolutionary Wankel rotary engine. So, is Mazda bringing back the rotary engine? Not in the foreseeable future. However, a recent article posted on the Road and Track website posits something very interesting. Possibly coincidentally, this article also reminded us of something we read from Mazda a few months ago regarding their efforts to build electric vehicles or something with renewable fuels. Let’s take a look.

READ MORE: What is Mazda doing with the new Mazda3?

The rotary engine used by the Mazda RX-8 had a lot going for it. It is both smaller and lighter than a piston engine, while also using fewer moving parts. Rotary engines are known for cranking out huge amounts of power from a relatively tiny platform. The Road and Track article, written by Bob Sorokanich, also points out that all of those benefits come with a major flaw, it’s pretty dirty.

Sorokanich says that the Wankel rotary engine simply doesn’t burn gasoline as completely or cleanly as piston-based counterparts. However, what if there was a way to use a more suitable fuel. This is where popular YouTube channel “Engineering Explained,” hosted by Jason Fenske comes to the rescue.

In the video embedded below, Fenske makes a strong case for why a revival of the Wankel rotary engine is begging to be fueled by hydrogen. In fact, Sorokanich’s article points out that Mazda also had this idea several years ago and produced hydrogen-powered cars for their Japanese market, but not in any meaningful quantities.

Fenske’s videos really do a great job explaining why this is something we should really be demanding from automakers like Mazda.

Stop by the Gwatney Mazda of Germantown showroom today if you’d like to see what we currently have available. Several 2019 Mazda models have already arrived; schedule a test drive today.

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