Mazda might be cooking something big, folks. We don’t want to give you empty hopes but there’s a new patent from the Japanese firm showing a sports car powered by an electrified rotary engine. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is going into production but it is at least an indication Mazda is actually considering it.
Even though the patent was originally applied for in June 2021, it was published in the United States last week and was first unearthed by The Drive just yesterday. The document doesn’t include a lot of information about the rotary engine itself but says it is placed at the front. Apparently, Mazda also sees potential in more traditional engine types “such as a reciprocating engine.”
The rotary engine is part of a hybrid setup. There’s also a combination of different types of electric motors – a pair of 23-horsepower (17-kilowatt) induction motors for the front wheels and a 36-hp (25-kW) permanent magnet synchronous motor that sits behind the combustion engine, giving the car an all-wheel-drive capability. As The Drive mentions in its report, those two types of electric motors deliver torque in different ways, which may be an interesting trick for achieving a flatter torque curve.
The battery itself is also quite interesting. Mazda proposes a unique variable-voltage system, which apparently uses four 48-volt modules housed in a single package. At lower system load, the modules work as a traditional 48-volt battery but when the full potential is needed, the battery uses electrical switches to reconfigure two pairs of battery cells to operate in series at 96 volts. According to the patent, this design saves weight, which is crucial in a sports car that has a combustion engine, three electric motors, and a battery.
What does this new patent mean? Well, honestly, not much at this point. Mazda could be just protecting its technology from other companies. However, we prefer to never say never and keep the faith alive that a sports car with a rotary engine is indeed on the way.
Source: US Patent and Trademark Office via The Drive