Next-Gen Mazda2 To Get Rotary Range Extender?

3 years ago by Jay Cole 24

Mazda Has Already Produced A Limited Run Of Demio EVs in Japan - The Same Battery System As Found In Their Upcoming PHEV

Mazda Has Already Produced A Limited Run Of Demio EVs in Japan – The Same Battery System As Found In Their Upcoming PHEV

At some point in the not-so-distant future, every automaker that wants to sell vehicles in the United States will have to offer plug-in vehicles (or fuel cell vehicles) to accumulate the ZEV (zero emission vehicle) credits necessary to avoid hefty fines from the Air Resources Board.

20 kWh Li-Ion Demio EV Battery Pack

20 kWh Li-Ion Demio EV Battery Pack

That list includes Mazda.  So enter the Mazda2 RE PHEV.

While we won’t officially be able to say Mazda is selling the extended range 2 until the car’s 3rd generation launch party has been had next month…it’s coming.

Motoring.au had a chance to talk to Australia’s managing director – Martin Benders about the car, and he basically underlined the fact that the car would only be sold in the compliance/incentive areas of the world where it would fill a need.

“The only markets in which you can justify bringing something like that out, to get at least a reasonable amount of volume to justify setting it up as a saleable model, are ones where there’s government support for those types of models.

In Japan hybrids sort of took over as the brand of choice, but only for people who want the easy route to being green – (people who say) ‘I’ll buy a hybrid so that makes me green’ – not people who actually think about whether it’s viable technology or not.”

For most of the world, Mazda has been relying on more and more efficient engines (and not selling many larger vehicles) to hit CO2 figures, and the new Mazda2 continues that trend as the petrol-burner will be at least 20% more efficient still.

Mazda has already demonstrated the Mazda2 RE Range Extender prototype, a vehicle that features a 20 kWh lithium battery, but also incorporates a lightweight 220 lb single-rotor Wankel engine in the back for more driving range.

Mazda Demio Interior

Mazda Demio Interior

Earlier to the RE demonstrator was the Demio EV.  The Demio used the same all-electric system as the RE, and was put into limited production in Japan (100 units) as a test/validation program.

Using Tesla-like 18650 cells, the 20 kWh vehicle was rated at 200 km (124 miles) on the ridiculously unrealistic Japan JC08 system.  (Think 85 miles-ish if they brought it to the US).

Because Mazda needs their new PHEV to garner ZEV credits for them in the US, the car is fitted with a small 9 liter tank (2.4 US gallons) much like the BMW i3 REx – which is designed to double the car’s total range, but also stay compliant as a BEVx as get those credits.

Motoring.com.au

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24 responses to "Next-Gen Mazda2 To Get Rotary Range Extender?"

  1. David Murray says:

    Interesting.. This could be a cheaper alternative to the BMW i3 Rex… Same concept but probably cheaper car.

  2. DaveMart says:

    Why not?

    Mazda has stuck the rotary engine into a long line of failed vehicles, so why not put it into what they characterise as strictly a compliance car?

    Born to fail!

  3. MDEV says:

    Rotary engine has never been efficient.

    1. Mint says:

      Range extenders don’t have to be highly efficient. Being cheap and compact are the top priority.

      1. David Murray says:

        I would tend to agree, especially for a vehicle that has 80-ish miles of all electric range. The range extender would be used rarely. However, most people don’t seem to be smart enough to figure that out unless they’ve already been driving a Volt or i3 for a while. I’ve heard so many complaints about the Volt’s ICE fuel economy. I always respond to those people with the following:

        “Why should I care much about the fuel economy of the ICE? I still have the same gas in the tank from 2013. It’s only there in case I need it in an emergency or take a long trip. And 40 mpg is still not bad for ANY ICE car.”

        1. Ted Fredrick says:

          Better use the gas because it gos bad and will clog the injectors

          1. Anon says:

            +1

            Old gas jells up…

  4. David Stone says:

    “…on the ridiculously unrealistic Japan JC08 system. (Think 85 miles-ish if they brought it to the US).”

    Please stop with such comments!
    These systems are designed to show what the CAR is capable of, not the average Joe who thinks the term for people without a foot made of lead is ‘treehugger’ 😉

    1. Jay Cole says:

      Well, actually it is capable of more under the perfect conditions, it is capable of 124 miles under the Japanese test conditions—which can’t be replicated in the real world.

      As an example of this, the 2015 LEAF has a 228 km/142 mile JC08 range. It is (in our opinion) a pretty useless metric for us to quote in stories like this, and ultimately does more harm than good to do so…so we translate JC08 to an expected EPA number (based on the available car average conversion)

      1. radim says:

        Jay, I believe I am not speaking just for myself, but for many experienced EV drivers/hyper milers. The Japanese test cycle is very useful, because it defines the approx. ceiling as far the EV can go. It is rather the EPA number which is useless to me personally. I drive MIEV for about 18 months and the worse range ever was 76 miles, so the EPA rated 62 is useless to me. I am averaging mid to upper 80s and 2 times actually hit 100 miles of accomplished range per charge. The Japanese cycle is very close to that. The EPA is about 60% off from my best numbers. All reasonable people should know that conditions modify the range for EVs just like it does for ICE. Rain, A/C use and speed makes big deal for all vehicles regardless of power train. I believe that both numbers, should be disclosed to all buyers of EVs and ICE – the maximum range under best condition (Japanese test) and also “average” conditions/driver (EPA test). Both numbers are useful. It is like stating that trunk capacity is x.x cubic feet, but no real world objects can be folded in such a way to utilize every single square inch.

        1. lewl says:

          I’d rather them be required to publish a minimum value sooner than a maximum. Nothing kills public perception more than buying your ‘xx’ range EV, only to get half that in the winter and double that in the summer. Double is great. The half is the critical piece.

  5. Spec9 says:

    Any rotary engine experts? Does it work well at fixed RPMs? Can small rotary engines be built?

    1. krona2k says:

      I’m not an expert but rotary engines have great power to weight ratios. In many ways they are a very good range extender. The problem as I see it is manufacturers get worried when reporting bad MPG for range extenders even though in reality for most users it’s not very relevant since a vast majority of miles will be on electric.

    2. cmg186 says:

      Rotaries get their best MPGs at fixed RPM’s. They’re small, compact, and don’t have much vibration. The one used in this vehicle is only 330 cc, so yes, small rotaries can be built. See this article for more info on the prototype:

      http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-review/mazda/2/first-drives/mazda-2-ev-range-extender-prototype-first-drive-review

      1. Ted Fredrick says:

        People use small rotary engines in model planes. They are simple and light. They work great at one RPM range. The company I work for build an APU for planes that had a small rotary engine

      2. Mikael says:

        I don’t know much about engines and especially not the rotary engine, or rather the Wankel engine.

        But all I heard about it and it’s abilities has made me think “hmm…that would be great for an EREV”.

        I think this will be a good car and at least sold in central/northern Europe too.

  6. Nate says:

    I’m not a rotary expert, but as for your second question the Rx-8 and last couple generations of the Rx-7 had rotary engines that were just 1.3L. The first generation Rx-7’s was even smaller.

    1. Robert says:

      First model RX7’s ran with a two rotor engine with total displacement of just 1,100 cc’s: that’s just 1.1 litres!

      My own RX7 I drove in 1984 was a 1983 model, just before they changed the engine to a newer model. Mine was called a ’12A’, and the newer one was called a ’13B’ and it had 1,300 cc’s displacement.

      Also, mine had an aftermarket Arkay Turbo system added by the first owner, which doubled the stock 100 HP, to actually 205 HP, allowing it to hit Red line in all 5 Gears! In spite of a top speed quickly reached of 215 Kph (135 MPH), cruising on Cruise control at B.C. speed limit of 90 Kph (about 55 MPH), could net me a still reasonable 30 MPG!

      Some aircraft kit builders have made their own single rotor wankels, like this story:
      http://www.fairpoint.net/~res12/html/one_rotor_wankel.html
      ” A one rotor Wankel engine is the most simple and smooth running reciprocating internal combustion engine existing today.”

      Here is a video of a 450 CC wankel:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFMBm8-bzn0

  7. Wow, I didn’t realize that Mazda had read the Honda / Toyota play book… I presume these are lease only, so they can be crushed at the end.

    Here the official CARB manufacturer compliance list:

    For 2015 model year and beyond:

    “BMW, Fiat/Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Daimler/Mercedes, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen must comply with the new requirements. Four additional manufacturers would also be required to comply with the ZEV requirements, but would be allowed to meet their obligation with PHEVs.”

  8. drucifer says:

    This is a great use of a rotary/wankel engine. As a range extender for a car that will be a BEV 90+% of the time, it may be even better than Atkinson cycle.

  9. Scoops says:

    I’m a BEV simpleton, I really like the feeling of _only_ having an electric motor in my ride. (like in my FFE) I am bored with ICEs and only care about EVs now (There’s so much to look forward to! The future of Motor heads is safe!!)

    That being said, I would totally be down with having a Wankel engine in my GF’s (future) PHEV. I guess it’s just the NSU fanboy in me.

  10. Scoops says:

    … I’m still rambling….

    20kWh is pretty respectable. 85 miles should be pretty easy to reach considering the ICE |*RIP*| extender being dragged along only weighs 220 Wankel pounds and the Mazda2 is pretty small/light.

    “The only markets in which you can justify bringing something like that out, to get at least a reasonable amount of volume to justify setting it up as a saleable model, are ones where there’s government support for those types of models…”

    __So does that mean you’ll be bringing it to Georgia?__

    “In Japan hybrids sort of took over as the brand of choice, but only for people who want the easy route to being green – (people who say) “I’ll buy a hybrid so that makes me green” – not people who actually think about whether it’s viable technology or not.”

    __Hybrids are only an interim solution. Fact is that BEVs *are* a viable technology and you POSERS aren’t capitalizing on it like the lame followers you are. “I’ll build a skyactiv so that makes me green”__

    … Losers.

  11. Miggy says:

    Come on Mazda get real, give us a EV Mazda 6 with a good range, the Rotary will work well as a charger as it runs at a constant speed and is very economical when it does. The Mazda 2 is too small for most people.
    Sure keep the 9 Litre tank for the USA but give the rest of the world a 20 litre tank.

  12. Priusmaniac says:

    That EV with wankel range extender is a great idea.

    I would only want to be able to have it in a mazda 6 size and with a flex fuel rex that would benefit from a standard 12 gallon tank instead of a mini sized one (it can be left almost empty when not used).