Fuel economy rules! The rotary engine is dead

Mazda-RX8It doesn’t come as a surprise. Everybody in the industry knew it was bound to happen, but that doesn’t make the news easier to swallow. There were 3 engine designs in automobiles, only 2 are left. The diesel engine and the classic Otto-cycle spark-ignited engine. The rotary is gone. Mazda, the last company which believed in that technology, built its last rotary last week (source: Bloomberg).

Theoretically, this is good news, because if the rotary had qualities, most notably its compact size and its smooth running, it had always suffered from poor fuel economy. Has anyone heard about a car with a rotary getting more than 20 mpg? The Mazda RX-8 could have competed with the new Toyota GT86, but that new car has a 25 mpg rating (combined), when the late Mazda couldn’t get more than 18 mpg. So the best technology has won. Better fuel economy, less CO2 emissions, all green car fans are happy, but we shall understand the sadness of all rotary fans around the world. When all cars will be electric, we will sure have sweet souvenirs of the sound of an old rotary driving by.

Mazda-Renesis rotary engine