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The last partnership between Germany and Japan didn't end well, but a new report is indicating that Audi and Mazda are considering a Wankel engine alliance.

Inside Line says the two companies have had informal talks to explore the possibility of joining forces to develop rotary engines. While it may seem odd that Audi would be interested, the A1 e-tron features a 20 PS (15 kW / 20 hp) range-extending Wankel engine.

In related news, Mazda has reportedly developed a new laser ignition system for rotary engines. Details are limited, but the system eliminates the need for spark plugs and allows for better engine sealing as well as reduced CO2 emissions. The engine would likely debut in the successor to the RX-8, but a source indicated that a launch hasn't been green-lighted and the company is seeking funding.

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