As one of the only unaligned major automakers left in the world, Mazda knows it needs to take some big risks if it hopes to keep going it alone. The delayed Mazda 6 diesel is a cornerstone of Mazda’s risky comeback plan, but rumors of a RX8 successor with a rotary-hybrid drivetrain have fanboys sitting on the fence, wondering just how potent a hybrid sports car can be.
Well if you ask Porsche, hybrid sports cars are the future, and well-heeled consumers are on-board as well. However, Mazda has been slow to jump onto the hybrid trend train, preferring instead to dabble with supercapcitors and hydrogen vehicles. Yet rumors of a rotary-powered hybrid car, perhaps running hydrogen in the place gasoline, have been floated for years. Now obviously a gas-powered rotary hybrid would have a more far-reaching appeal, and could actually be the perfect match as a range-extender for a plug-in hybrid sports car.
With electric motors providing power to the wheels, a rotary engine would serve as an excellent range-extender, as it has fewer moving parts and can be tuned to be quite efficient. Mazda may also merely go with a regular rotary-powered RX9, which is due to arrive anytime in the next 2 to 5 years, as a nod to enthusiasts who remain die-hard fans of the funky engine. Mazda has proved it isn’t afraid to link alternative fuels and sports cars, though hybrid and electric vehicles remain a sticky issue for many enthusiasts.
For now though, Mazda remains focused on its core cars, like the Mazda 6 and Mazda 3, and there still isn’t any sign of a hybrid anything from the maker of zoom-zoom. For all its investment into hydrogen test vehicles, Mazda still needs something it can sell en masse, while getting people talking. A rotary-hybrid sports car could be just what the enthusiast ordered.
Source: Car Dealer Magazine