Mazda has more ideas for its rotary range-extender powertrain

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GENEVA — Mazda has some pretty exciting technology in the works, particularly its Skyactiv-X spark-controlled compression-ignition engine, but also the upcoming range-extended electric vehicle with a rotary engine. It offers the possibility of electric transportation with a distinctly way of getting electricity from gas when charging isn’t an option. But we learned that has some other for the range-extender beyond transportation, and even beyond gasoline.

In talking with Ichiro Hirose, Maza’s managing executive officer for powertrain and vehicle development, product planning and cost innovation, we learned that the company is exploring the powertrain’s potential as an emergency generator. Naturally if an engine is suitable for creating electricity in a car, it would be suitable to provide electricity to buildings or tools. Besides a rotary engine used as a standalone generator, Hirose said the company is investigating the potential for complete cars to be used as emergency generators, since they’re already mobile.

Gasoline wouldn’t have to be the only potential fuel, either. Hirose said Mazda is looking at possibly running the engine on liquified petroleum gas, or LPG. We asked if hydrogen was also being considered, since Mazda has a history of hydrogen-powered rotary prototypes, even some that could run on hydrogen or gasoline, but Hirose said that’s not being looked at right now.

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