While both General Motors and Ford have shown extended range electric vehicle concepts, only the former has committed to producing such a vehicle. We have written endlessly here about the Chevrolet Volt, but now there may be a new challenger on the horizon from an unexpected corner. The Zoom-Zoom factory at Mazda may be developing an ER-EV. Unlike the Volt which uses a four-cylinder piston engine for a range extender, Mazda is reportedly planning to use a Wankel rotary. According to AutoCar, there is a running prototype in a Mazda 5 shell.

The rotary is an interesting choice for this application. Wankels produce a lot of power in a small package but typically aren't very fuel efficient. While Mazda may have a running prototype, production likely won't occur until battery costs drop.

[Source: AutoCar]