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Mazda patents hybrid rotary engine

Mazda patents hybrid rotary engine

Everyone interested in Mazda knew that we hadn’t seen the last of the rotary engine and if the recent patent registered by the Japanese automaker is anything to go by, the company hasn’t either.

The patent was published recently in Japan and outlines a full size rotary engine up front with a pair of electric motors attached to each rear wheel. The front wheels also have electric motors with capacitors, providing an AWD platform with some unique characteristics.

Hybrid Mazda

The system includes a 3.5kWh battery system linked to those capacitors. The system uses regenerative braking to help supply more energy for the battery, which in turn supplies those capacitors. Once the capacitors have used their power they are recharged by the battery.

This is different than a typical setup. For one, the battery is much smaller than usual which should help with weight. Two, the cabling for the voltage will be much shorter which helps with weight and reduces loss. Three, the capacitor setup is something entirely new.

The capacitors are like mini batteries and supply energy direct to the electric motor on the front wheels. Once their charge has been expended, the battery recharges the capacitors and the battery is presumably recharged by the engine.

The patent mentions that those front wheel motors are there to generate drive "when a large output is required in the high vehicle speed range."

AWD Mazda

While the patent doesn’t mention driving modes or how the rear mounted electric motors will be used in normal driving, there is the potential for AWD here. Along with the very clever setup at the front with the capacitors and regenerative braking, we could potentially have a very capable car suitable for most road situations with drive in all four corners.

That is certainly something for Canadians to be interested in!

This is just a patent though. While clearly there has been a lot of work put into this from Mazda, there is no mention of production yet. This may just be a brainstorm the automaker wants to protect just in case. It may also be a flight of fancy that will never see the light of day.

Or it might be Mazda’s belated foray into hybrid motoring. Electrification is clearly the direction of travel for future cars and it makes sense for every car maker who wants to survive get in on the action. Sure, Mazda is very late to the party but as with any grand entrance, better late than never!

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