Mazda is known for taking different (technology) paths than the competition. Now there are increasing indications of a revival of the Wankel engine. In addition, the Japanese have protected various model names and a Wankel logo.
Mazda is currently only using a rotary piston engine in the MX-30 - and there only as a range extender. But for some time now there have been small hints of the return of Wankel technology in other models - maybe even in a Mazda RX 8 successor.,
New Wankel-style logo
According to the latest Japanese media reports, Mazda has the Protect the names "e-SKYACTIV R-Energy", "e-SKYACTIV R-HEV" and "e-SKYACTIV R-EV". A logo has also been registered with the patent office. It shows the outline of the Wankel rotor with a stylized "e" in the middle. A new "R" logo was previously announced.
It is questionable whether the model names and logos will actually be used on production vehicles. A patent application does not necessarily result in this.
Wankel with hydrogen?
"e-SKYACTIV R-EV" should indicate a purely electric model. With "e-SKYACTIV R-HEV" the speculation goes a little further. A HEV is generally meant to mean a hybrid drive train, but a hydrogen model "Hydrogen" could also use the abbreviation. The speculation about "R-Energy" has to be taken even further. Is it a name that summarizes sporty electric models or is it also a hydrogen model? Why are we focusing on the topic of hydrogen here? This is due to rumors, but also hints from Mazda officials with regard to the development and readiness of the technology. A prototype with an electric turbo could be operational within three years, it was unofficially announced in early August 2021. It is important in this context that the technology of the hydrogen Wankel refers to direct combustion and not to a fuel cell for driving electric motors. Accordingly, the abbreviation FCEV (fuel cell electric car) makes no sense.
The Wankel engine has advantages for direct hydrogen combustion. Since there are only hot spots there in the so-called hot arc of the engine compartment, hydrogen cannot unintentionally ignite at other hot spots and can be used more safely.
Mazda already has plenty of experience with the combination of Wankel and hydrogen. The 13-B-Renesis engine (Renesis for Rotary Engine Genesis) from the Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE presented in 2003 could burn either gasoline or hydrogen. The hydrogen was injected directly via two injection nozzles - the petrol was injected via the intake port. The power output in hydrogen operation, including electrically assisted turbocharger, was 110 hp, only half as high as the 210 "petrol" hp. A more powerful version of the engine was presented as a twin-rotor rotary engine 16X 2007 in the Taiki study with significantly more power.
Mazda announced in the middle of the year that it would electrify all of its series by 2030 and by 2025 three purely electrically powered models, five plug-in hybrids and five hybrids.
Mazda will (again) rely on Wankel technology in the future - as a range extender and possibly also as a drive motor that burns hydrogen directly. The Japanese have experience with this and have already confirmed the return of the hydrogen Wankel a little. There are also new model names and a Wankel logo. The only question is which models the technology will move into. There is a great desire for an RX 8 successor in the form of a sporty coupé, and various studies have fueled this desire.