Ever since the RX-8 left us in 2012, Mazda fans have been hoping that a new model would be introduced with the legendary rotary engine. After several rumors and even a few teasers, it looks like Mazda’s rotary engine is close to making a comeback, but it won’t be under the hood of a new RX model.

Mazda Next Generation Product Concept
Mazda Next Generation Product Concept

Mazda’s rotary engine is ditching its duty under the hood of sports car and instead will soon be used to power an electric vehicle. Mitsuo Hitomi, Mazda’s global powertrain head recently revealed that the rotary engine will likely be used as a range extender for an upcoming electric car. “I think that’s probably what it will be,” Hitomi revealed a technology preview in Japan.

The rotary engine will be ideal as a range extender due to its small size and its low vibration. Mazda hasn’t officially announced when the new electric car will launch, but it’s expected to arrive in 2019, in two versions. The first will be a fully electric model, while the second version will use the rotary engine as a range extender. Mazda is currently working on a new platform for the electric car.

Hitomi also revealed that Mazda’s engineers are still working on a larger rotary engine that could be used for a future sports car, but it’s not known when that will be given the green light. Mazda is currently trying to decide “whether the business conditions will be met or not … not the big technical issues. Are we going to really sell that many models of sports cars? There aren’t that many auto companies selling multiple sports cars.”

Source: Automotive News