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Mazda's rotary engine to double range for electric cars

New model with revived tech rolling out in 2019 in US, Europe

Rotary engines use triangular rotors rather than the pistons seen in conventional engines.

TOKYO -- Mazda Motor plans to release electric vehicles equipped with range-extending rotary engines in the U.S. and Europe in 2019, bringing back a signature technology as it responds to tougher environmental rules in key auto markets.

A gas-fueled rotary engine can generate power to run the motor in an electric vehicle, letting automakers get by with a smaller battery or increasing the distance the car can travel. Mazda in 2013 equipped a prototype electric car with a rotary engine that doubled its range compared with a standard electric compact. BMW offers a similar gas-fueled range extender for its i3.

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