With this much smoke rising from Mazda HQ in Japan, it's hard to believe there's no fire. A series of filings at the beginning of August contained schematics of what could be (and let's face it, what we hope to be) an RX-Vision-like sports coupe with an electrified front axle. Then came a report from Japan's Best Car that Mazda is working on a hydrogen-powered rotary engine that would slot into some sort of RX-8 successor. Now we've learned, via CarBuzz, that Hatena Blog in Japan (translated) has found eight Mazda trademark applications, four perhaps having to do with vehicle trim names, four perhaps to be applied to electrified propulsion systems.
The drivetrain applications are a logo, pictured above, and three names: e-SKYACTIV R-Energy, e-SKYACTIV R-HEV, e-SKYACTIV R-EV. Hatena figures the latest applications center on the automaker's XEV technology that we heard about last year, which would use a small rotary engine in an extremely compact hybrid powertrain that could act as a mild hybrid, series hybrid, or range-extended EV. A Mazda patent application showed a potential AWD layout for the powertrain that was as complicated as it was novel.
The logo is clearly the rotor in a Wankel rotary engine with an equally clear "e" cutout. We're going with the idea here that correlation is causation, so we'll assume having a rotary-shaped logo filed with new "R" nomenclature means these terms signify some sort of electrified Skyactiv rotary engines. If Mazda's sticking to the current trend in electrified naming, we'd take R-HEV to be for a hybrid electric vehicle — or it could be hydrogen — and R-EV to suit a battery-electric vehicle. That leaves the R-Energy name as a mystery — our guess is that it identifies another alternative fuel like that hydrogen rotary engine, or it could be an umbrella term for any non-traditional R car. Remember, Mazda also applied to trademark a new R logo in July, the most popular guess being that it could signify rotary-powered high-performance models.
We'll put the usual trademark disclaimer here: Applications don't necessarily mean anything for the real world, so the logo and names might end up being placeholders that never escape a Japanese filing cabinet. But again, this is a lot of activity in a single month that's tangential to things we know Mazda is working on, like a new sporty RWD car and rotary engines.
The other four trademark applications were for trim names Hatena figures will be applied to JDM offerings: Field Journey and Sports Appearance for the CX-5, VS Terracotta Selection that mimics the VS White Selection already available for the Miata Roadster RF, and Pro-X Ross Style that's a stumper.