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Mazda says the rotary is coming back (again), but it’s not for a sports car

Why it matters to you

Mazda shows time-tested technology can be repurposed to complement new, state-of-the-art features like electric drivetrains. We’ve been getting some mixed messages from Mazda lately about its iconic rotary engine. Though Mazda guarantees its working on new rotary technology[1], it says it isn’t building an RX-7 successor with such an engine.

That would be fine, yet Mazda keeps building rotary-powered sports car concepts. First, there was the RX-Vision[2], and a new rotary-powered concept — the next evolution of the RX-Vision — is coming to October’s Tokyo Motor Show. Despite these teases, Mazda’s rotary will likely serve a more pedestrian purpose when it spins its way back into production.

Mitsuo Hitomi, the brand’s global powertrain chief, recently told Automotive News[3] the rotary will return in 2019 as a range extender for electric vehicles. On paper, the rotary engine would perform the same function as the 600cc two-cylinder available at an extra cost on the BMW i3. It wouldn’t directly drive the wheels, but it would generate enough electricity to charge the battery pack on-the-go.

An electric car equipped with a gasoline-burning range extender inevitably emits a little bit of CO2, but it’s able to drive much further on a single charge. A few drawbacks have prevented the Wankel engine from truly rivaling the piston engine. Notably, it uses more fuel and it typically produces less torque than a comparable four-cylinder.

But, its advantages are well-suited to range-extending duties. It’s compact, which clears up more space for passengers, cargo, and in this application batteries, it’s light, quiet, and vibration-free. Mazda[4] is even developing an advanced start-stop system to keep fuel economy in check, according to patent applications uncovered by Autoblog[5]. Mazda experimented with using a rotary engine in an electric car four years ago when it introduced the experimental Mazda2 RE concept.

It never reached production, but engineers are using the data gathered over the course of the project to develop a series-produced electric vehicle. Those drooling over the idea of an RX-7 successor have some hope, though. Hitomi confirmed Mazda is developing a larger rotary engine that could power a sports car, but the brand hasn’t settled on its application just yet.

Mazda is a small outfit compared to most automakers, so slotting in another performance vehicle alongside the MX-5 is a task that cannot be rushed. Either way, stay tuned for an update as soon as Mazda lifts the sheet on its new concept. If the RX-Vision is any indicator, there’s a handsome car awaiting us.

Update: Added that Mazda plans to utilize rotary engines as range extenders for electric vehicles .

References

  1. ^ working on new rotary technology (www.autoblog.com)
  2. ^ RX-Vision (www.digitaltrends.com)
  3. ^ Automotive News (www.autonews.com)
  4. ^ Mazda (www.digitaltrends.com)
  5. ^ Autoblog (www.autoblog.com)

The Nano is a water dispenser that is as sleek as it is energy efficient

Why it matters to you

Want to heat or cool water efficiently while saving the planet? The Nano can help. This isn’t your office water cooler. The Nano[1] just might be the sleekest office accessory there ever was, that is, if you’re feeling generous enough to take it out of your kitchen and share it with your coworkers.

The machine’s innovative design promises to reduce both energy consumption and the environmental[2] wastefulness of plastic water bottles[3], and all in a very attractive package. The latest product from Q&C Watercoolers, the Nano claims to make use of an “advanced flow-through heating system that instantly heats filtered water to the desired temperature.” Because there’s no need for storage tanks or preheating, the dispenser is said to approach 98 percent energy efficiency, making it 30 percent more efficient than your standard electric kettle, and 46 percent more efficient than a microwave. Even if the idea of saving the earth doesn’t excite you (though it should), that the Nano can heat water up to six times faster ought to get your attention.

But let’s say, even as colder seasons approach, you’re more interested in drinking cold rather than hot water. The Nano’s cooling system makes use of an adaptive algorithm to better learn your water usage patterns. Rather than keeping water cold all day long while you’re at school or at work, the Nano only cools when you’re around and looking for an icy beverage.

With a “reliable and hygienic closed cooling unit without any refrigerant gases,” the Nano is said to be able to cool up to 36 liters of water a day. The Nano also comes with a smartphone app that allows you to check its filter status, temperature levels, and even set child locks so that your youngsters don’t accidentally dispense hot water onto themselves. As Watercoolers CEO Marton Szabo noted in a statement, “We must all make individual choices that reduce our carbon footprint.

The Nano water dispenser can play its own small role in families’ efforts to save our environment.”

Coming to Indiegogo in November for the early bird price of £359[4].

We’ll keep you updated as to the launch of the campaign and when you might be able to expect the first shipments to go out.

References

  1. ^ The Nano (www.qcwatercoolers.com)
  2. ^ environmental (www.digitaltrends.com)
  3. ^ water bottles (www.digitaltrends.com)
  4. ^ £359 (www.qcwatercoolers.com)

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