Mazda stunned the world with the RX-Vision concept last year and now we have the first details on its new rotary engine.
Currently under development, Mazda’s next-generation rotary engine has been the center of rumors and speculation for years. A recent patent application has been published in the U.S., filed on August 12, 2015 detailing “a rotary piston engine mounted on a vehicle.”
According to the patent’s abstract, the engine includes a rotary piston engine body mounted on the vehicle “in an orientation where an output shaft of the rotary piston engine body extends substantially horizontally, an intake passage connected with an intake port formed in the rotary piston engine body, and an exhaust passage connected with an exhaust port formed in the rotary piston engine body.”
Although that all sounds really technical, the big takeaway is that the rotary engine is rotated 180 degrees, bringing the exhaust port to the top of the engine while the intake is located at the bottom.
Digging into the details of the patent, there are benefits for how Mazda intends to setup its new rotary engine. With the intake passage located at the bottom, it becomes longer than that of a conventional rotary engine, and as a result, “can be advantageous in obtaining a dynamic forced-induction effect caused by an inertia effect.” In addition, with the exhaust port at the top, the length of the exhaust passage becomes comparatively short with decreased resistance, further improving performance.
Although the patent doesn’t confirm it, it does hint that Mazda is considering a turbocharged rotary engine, adding “an exhaust turbocharger may be disposed in the exhaust passage. The exhaust turbocharger may be located above the rotary piston engine body.” The configuration of the new rotary engine also allows the mounting position to be lower, creating additional space above the engine allowing a larger turbocharger to be used.
Unfortunately for rotary fans, it might still be a while before Mazda spills the details on its new rotary engine and where it might be used. It’s worth noting that March 2018 will mark the 40th anniversary of the Mazda RX-7, but any plans Mazda may have to celebrate the car are tightly under wraps.