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Mazda to Begin Leasing Hydrogen RX-8 at Beginning of 2006

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The hydrogen RX-8

Mazda has moved up the start of leasing of its hydrogen RX-8 in Japan to the beginning of next year—almost a year earlier than initially planned.

The hydrogen RX-8 (earlier post), which will be featured at the upcoming Tokyo Auto Salon 2006, is a dual-fuel system that uses onboard hydrogen or gasoline, injecting hydrogen gas directly into the engine via an electronic control unit embedded in the rotor housing.

Future versions of the hydrogen RX-8 will see an implementation of the Mazda mild hybrid system.

In keeping with its focus on hydrogen rotary internal combustion engines, Mazda will also be showing the previously introduced hydrogen hybrid Mazda5/Premacy RE concept vehicle which also uses the mild hybrid system (earlier post) at the upcoming North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.

Comments

doug

I thought the rotary engine was horrible for fuel consumption. The 1.1 liter got around 15mpg if I remember correctly. What is the draw here? Wasting hydrogen is worse than wasting gasoline!

tom deplume

This is a car intended to compete with Corvettes not Priuses.

lensovet

also, if i remember correctly, one of the main problems with gasoline rotary engines was a large amount of unburned mixture, which isn't so much an issue with hydrogen.
Mike, i'm just curious if you have any insight - when cars like this are leased out to consumers for "testing", how does the selection process work? how does one become eligible for such a pilot run?

Mike

Usually, the cars don't go out to individual consumers--they get leased by an organization (e.g., company, government agency). Multiple reasons for that, including funding availability (whether their own or provided via another agency), liability and a structure that will allow the carmakers to get some structured input back from the process.

As far as I know, the only exception to that approach has been Honda's leasing of the FCX to the family in California. But I haven't seen any subsequent such announcements, although I might have missed it.

Charlie

The Renesis engine, used in the 1.3 litre RX-8 has done very well on emissions tests, the re-design made great improvements. Burning H2, this is a moot point, anyway. Gas mileage, you are correct, its no Prius. But if H2 is going to make it as a technology, the general public will demand more variety, performance, handling, etc. than the Honda FCX and the like, can provide. The RX-8 is a good transition, while there are few H2 fueling sites, it would be nice to have gasoline as backup! I can see a few "draws"

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