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Summary:

Mazda is supposedly jumping into the green car game, with plans to build a range-extended electric vehicle that will debut in 2010, according to a report from Autocar via Wired. So if two’s company and three’s a crowd, GM, with its Chevy Volt, and Toyota, with […]

Mazda is supposedly jumping into the green car game, with plans to build a range-extended electric vehicle that will debut in 2010, according to a report from Autocar via Wired. So if two’s company and three’s a crowd, GM, with its Chevy Volt, and Toyota, with its next-gen Prius, are probably feeling like their party’s about to be crashed.

We say the more the merrier, as we all benefit from this kind of competition. But some of the details of this report are puzzling, notably that: “Autocar quotes unnamed ‘senior sources’ saying Mazda is testing an electric car that uses a Wankel rotary engine to charge the battery.” Wankels, although small and powerful, are pretty darned inefficient. They aren’t the cleanest-running engines, either, so using them in a hybrid — range-extended or other-wise — doesn’t make all that much sense.

Mazda’s move to start building green cars, however, makes a lot of sense. Sooner or later, this is a party that everyone is going to have to join. And Mazda is majority owned by Ford, meaning that whatever goodies and tech tricks it can cook up, Ford can then use in the rest of their cars.

GM, meanwhile, has decided to go into overdrive with plans for the Chevy Volt. In the International Herald Tribune, GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz says that GM will have production versions of the Volt working in a large test fleet by late 2009. As one of the most highly anticipated cars in GM’s history, GM can’t afford to have the Volt’s debut dimmed by competitors. While the article’s headline claims that “No hybrid race between Toyota, GM,” there is undoubtedly a race that is being fiercely run, even now. That also means that the Volt could be much further along than GM has let on, and could be able to start assessing its viability much, much earlier.

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By Tony Borroz

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  1. There are more companies developing electric cars than you think.

    Nissan is coming in 2010 with more in 2012
    Zenn (using Eestor’s super capacitor in 2009)
    Th!nk is coming to the U.S. in 2009
    Mitsubishi’s iMiev will come in 2010
    VW plans an electirc by 2010 as well.

    Most people will drive electric cars 10-15 years from now, so lets get this going and go 100% nuclear and build charge stations in every corner of our cities as soon as possible.

  2. A Wankel makes perfect sense for a Genset. With a turbo, a Wankel will match a piston engine for efficiency. Plus it matches a two-cycle piston engine for power/weight and power/volume.

  3. I think it’s not a concurent

  4. wankles are not ineficeant, the are more efficiant than regular piston engines because they don’t have as much inerta working ahainst them.

  5. Great thanks
    Cool blog :)

  6. MAZDA needs an EV badly since it’s automatic transmissions are SO BAD. In 2001 I had a 1998 Mazda and it’s automatic transmission fell apart in just a few months time. Not a first one! Mazda are very thin built, like paper. Not a good quality car.

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