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Mazda Senku Features Rotary Hybrid-Electric Drive

The Senku's RE (Rotary Engine) Hybrid system uses a next-generation direct-injection rotary engine combined with an electric motor, generator and a battery pack set beneath the driver's feet.

Published: 02-Nov-2005

StartFragment --> What's Special About It?
Most hybrid concept cars concentrate on delivering the most mileage possible without considering the system's effect on dynamic performance. The Mazda Senku blends the efficiency of hybrid power with smart packaging that maintains its original intent as a true sports car.

The Senku's RE (Rotary Engine) Hybrid system uses a next-generation direct-injection rotary engine combined with an electric motor, generator and a battery pack set beneath the driver's feet. By placing the batteries low and near the front, the Senku maintains an ideal 50-to-50 weight distribution. The system uses two solar panels that charge the batteries when the vehicle is parked.

Like the current RX-8, the Senku was designed as a four-passenger sports car. Instead of a separate pair of reverse-opening rear doors for access to the backseats, the Senku uses a single pair of power-sliding doors. The doors' dramatic "flying wing" design allows the Senku to keep its sleek shape without sacrificing the usability of the rear seats. In a similar way, an electrically operated split rear hatch allows access to the cargo area, alleviating the need for a massive hatch unit.

An asymmetrical dashboard design emphasizes driver involvement and passenger comfort. On the driver side, everything you need is located in or around the steering wheel itself. Auxiliary functions are displayed on a separate screen that can show the vehicle's surroundings through the use of onboard cameras. With all major controls angled toward the driver, front passengers get a huge chunk of wide-open real estate that makes the car feel bigger than it really is.

What's Edmunds' Take?
As futuristic as the Senku looks, there are more than a few ideas that could make their way into the next-generation RX-8. We hope one of them is the big sliding doors as they make for a much better-looking profile than the current RX-8's four-door setup

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