NZ Performance Car - - Inside Line -

Since the demise of the RX-8, ru­mours have been cir­cu­lat­ing about the next step in the Mazda ro­tary lin­eage with not a lot fruit­ing — un­til now, that is. Man­ag­ing ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer in charge of Tech­ni­cal Re­search Cen­ter and In­te­grated Con­trol Sys­tem De­vel­op­ment at Mazda Mit­suo Hit­omi con­firmed in an in­ter­view with our coun­ter­parts across the ditch that Mazda en­gi­neers are, in fact, still work­ing on a new gen­er­a­tion. “We’re still con­tin­u­ing de­vel­op­ment of the next-gen­er­a­tion ro­tary en­gine,” Hit­omi says. “[How­ever we are hav­ing trou­ble im­prov­ing] the ro­tary en­gine to the cur­rent con­ven­tional en­gine emis­sions. We are in­ves­ti­gat­ing var­i­ous kinds of emis­sion sys­tems to en­sure ideal con­di­tions.”

An­other ex­ec­u­tive, gen­eral man­ager of Cor­po­rate Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Hidetoshi Kudo, ad­mit­ted that pro­duc­ing an­other ro­tary, “is very im­por­tant to Mazda”, and re­vealed that, “[Mazda is] look­ing at laser ig­ni­tion and plasma ig­ni­tion … as you know, flame prop­a­ga­tion is an is­sue in ro­tary engines. But laser is very ex­pen­sive”. Ma­jor share­hold­ers are not thor­oughly con­vinced by the fi­nan­cial po­ten­tial the ro­tary mo­tor has — not­ing the mas­sive cur­rent and fu­ture cost of reach­ing the pro­duc­tion phase. Kudo fin­ished off by say­ing, “it’s Mazda’s cen­te­nary in 2020”. So per­haps we can ex­pect some­thing spe­cial to mark the oc­ca­sion? Only time will tell.

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