Toyota has revealed that its e-Palette Concept will use a Mazda-sourced rotary engine as a range extender.
Unveiled at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, the e-Palette Concept imagines a future where Toyota could partner with other companies to develop purpose-built vehicles and mobility solutions. Brands named as partners in the ‘e-Palette Alliance’ include Uber, Amazon, Pizza Hut, and Mazda.
Speaking with Green Car Reports at the Consumer Electronics Show, spokesman for Mazda North America, Jacob Brown, said Mazda’s engineering team will aid in the development of the vehicle’s powertrain, including supplying a rotary range extender.
“Mazda will provide technical information on a (rotary engine) range extender to be used in the vehicle being developed. We will reveal more details at an appropriate time,” Brown revealed.
By using a compact, light, and quiet rotary engine, Toyota could fit a smaller and less-expensive battery into the vehicle. If this happens, it would come on the back of admissions from Mazda that its rotary engine could eventually be used as a range extender in electrified vehicles.
As for the e-Palette itself, Toyota imagines the vehicle as being highly customizable and finding use as a package delivery van, ride-sharing vehicle, and a mobile e-commerce vehicle.
Toyota intends on conducting tests with the vehicle in the early 2020s and could use it as a mobility service for athletes during the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.