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William Maley

Mazda News: Farewell Rotary Engine.. For Now

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William Maley

Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

June 29, 2012

Last Friday was a sad day for Mazda. That was when the final 13B Renesis Rotary engine rolled off assembly line in Hiroshima, ending a fifty year affair.

Mazda first licensed the design for the rotary engine (also known as a Wankel engine) in 1961, with the Cosmo sports car being the first model to use a rotary in 1967. From there, the rotary engine would be used in a series of cars, including the RX-7 and RX-8 sports cars.

However, the times are changing. The RX-8 can’t hold a flame to the current crop of sports cars in fuel economy, and failed to meet the European Union’s Euro 5 emissions regulations, excluding it from sale in Europe. Also, sales of the RX-8 have been falling. In 2004, Mazda sold about 24,000 RX-8s. This past year, Mazda only sold 2,896 RX-8s.

There is some hope for those who are a fan of the rotary.

“While the majority of the company’s engineering resources are focused on the development of our revolutionary Sky Activ technology, work does continue on the next-generation rotary,” Mazda told Autocar. .“Additionally, work continues on the use of fuels other than gasoline, taking advantage of the rotary’s unique ability to operate on multiple fuels without extensive reengineering.”

Source: Bloomberg, Autocar

William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.


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Very cool car, but not a very usable car and motor.

RIP RX8 and Rotory!

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I mean they've been using the wankel for how many decades now... and the problem of fuel and oil consumption, plus emissions controls has never been adequately addressed. I'd say it's been proven this design is no good as a land-based vehicle engine.

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I mean they've been using the wankel for how many decades now... and the problem of fuel and oil consumption, plus emissions controls has never been adequately addressed. I'd say it's been proven this design is no good as a land-based vehicle engine.

Yet there are those that feel this engine should be used as a generator for Hybrid cars. You will still have the emissions problem and the oil consumption problem. The fact is, the engine was great but other technology has surpassed it.

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I mean they've been using the wankel for how many decades now... and the problem of fuel and oil consumption, plus emissions controls has never been adequately addressed. I'd say it's been proven this design is no good as a land-based vehicle engine.

Yet there are those that feel this engine should be used as a generator for Hybrid cars. You will still have the emissions problem and the oil consumption problem. The fact is, the engine was great but other technology has surpassed it.

Agreed - "no good as a land-based vehicle engine" is taking it too far - it works fine, but hasn't proven competitive. I don't see that the same as being "no good". But it makes complete business sense for mazda to phase it out, at least for now.

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A diesel wankel would be ideal for a generator and solve a few of the issues mentioned above.

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A diesel wankel would be ideal for a generator and solve a few of the issues mentioned above.

Very true...and the motor has very few moving parts.

they are a lot of fun to race, I've enjoyed auto crossing both RX-7's and RX-8's...and auto crossing against them...

However....there are limits to current motor and tech.

RX-8 is dated design, needed to go away.

I think Mazda may be in real trouble shortly, for a lot of reasons.

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Totally agree Horse, Mazda is in real trouble.

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