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Mazda Begins Commercial Leasing of Hybrid Rotary Hydrogen Vehicle

25 March 2009

Transparent view of Mazda Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid. Battery pack and hydrogen tank are at the rear. Click to enlarge.

Mazda Motor Corporation has begun commenced commercial leasing of the Mazda Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid (earlier post), a hydrogen hybrid vehicle that offers substantially improved performance due to the addition of a hybrid system. Mazda is the first automobile manufacturer to begin commercial leasing of a hydrogen hybrid vehicle; the first units will be delivered to local government authorities and energy-related companies during 2009.

The Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid features a series-hybrid drivetrain, which combines Mazda’s hydrogen rotary engine with an electric motor. The engine output is converted to electricity, which then powers the motor that drives the wheels.

This hybrid system boosts the hydrogen fuel range of the Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid to 200 kilometers (124 miles), twice the range of the RX-8 Hydrogen RE, and increases the maximum output by approximately 40%, to 110 kW.

The car features Mazda’s proprietary dual-fuel system, which enables the car to run on gasoline if hydrogen is unavailable, and interior parts made from Mazda’s plant-derived biomaterials.

A Li-ion battery pack provides energy storage, while compressed hydrogen is stored in a 35 MPa (350 bar, 5,000 psi) tank.

The Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid’s finalized specifications were approved by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) on 5 March 2009. The first vehicles received their registration numbers from the Hiroshima branch of the Chugoku District Transport Bureau on March 25.

The Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid is Mazda’s second hydrogen rotary engine model to be commercialized; the first was Mazda’s RX-8 Hydrogen RE (earlier post).

March 25, 2009 in Engines, Hybrids, Hydrogen | Permalink | Comments (29) | TrackBack (0)


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This is great. When hydrogen demand goes up which will force the distrbution infrastructure to be put in place perhaps then fuel cell vehicles will finally become viable.

"Mazda is the first automobile manufacturer to begin commercial leasing of a hydrogen hybrid vehicle"

Is this to distinguish them from the FCX Calrity leases to private individuals?

Also, where I am in the US Mid-Atlantic area, hydrogen costs about $20/kg. One kg moves you about 50 miles in a 55% efficient fuel cell (less in an IC engine), so the per-mile costs are about $0.40/mile, which is 3 times MORE than gas, and 12 time more than pure electric.

... just to get that out there.

This site says that the tank stores 2.4 kg of hydrogen:

So that's about 50 miles range per kg, same as most fuel cell cars. As it currently takes 60 kWh of electricity to produce 1 kg of hydrogen by electrolysis, the car is therefore managing 0.8 miles per kWh of primary electricity.

By contrast the BEVs (such as Tesla, MiEV etc) are currently managing 5 miles per kWh. That means you'd have to build six times as many nuclear power stations, or windmills, etc to run a hydrogen car fleet compared to a battery car fleet.

Another way of looking at it is CO2, as making 1 kWh of electricity (at current grid mix) emits 700g of CO2 into the atmosphere, so this car would indirectly emit 840 g CO2 per mile driven, or 525 g per km.

For comparison, a Prius manages 104 g per km and a Hummer H3 emits 346 g per km.

A bit off topic, but Neil Young's 1959 Lincoln series hybrid has a Wankel genset that gets good mileage too.

At least it runs on petrol as well.
Better reoptimise it for petrol only and dump the H2 stuff.

Then you might have quite a nice car, at much lower cost and with decent range.

It sounds like a "dinner party car" where you get immense bragging rights (H2 + hybrid), with arts graduate types.

In reality, you would probably run it on petrol (or gasoline if you prefer) after the first H2 fill has expired.

Why not make a rotary designed to run on hydrogen enriched natural gas?
Acting as range extender it can run at fixed speed using lean burn and exhaust gas recirculation to achieve a high efficiency.
Running completely on hydrogen is a silly idea but having a small amount (10-30% by volume) mixed with the natural gas extends the lean limit and improves thermal efficiency.
Its also an ideal mix to inject into diesel engines

So WTF does this do, that isn't done far cheaper with a gasoline/diesel hybrid?

3Peace reminds us there are evolutions as well as revolutions.

I'm guessing that hydrogen in vehicles will be evolutionary for at least a decade. The affordable FC still seems to be half hope and half guess and half lab rat.

Small amounts of hydrogen injection can improve ICE performance. And when no H is available the ICE can run well using the primary fuel alone. Whether that be gasoline or diesel or even NG.

The tradeoff is complexity. So heavy duty trucks and expensive cars is where we might expect to see ICE with H injections first.

"For comparison, a Prius manages 104 g per km and a Hummer H3 emits 346 g per km."

That's only the downstream emissions. It doesn't include the CO2 released in finding the oil, getting it to the refinery, distilling it into gasoline and getting the fuel to the gas station.

I don't know if anyone else has seen the Exxon ads about reforming gasoline into hydrogen, but I find them amazing. They claim an 80% improvement in mileage, which is about what fuel cells would give you over internal combustion. But reform gasoline into hydrogen on the vehicle? You can count on this from an oil and gasoline company.

Ken, perhaps there can be a trade off. With continued downsizing of engines with increasing hybridization and all electric range the ICE should only be required on longer trips which would ideally be done on high speed rail. A drive on / drive off system similar to the Eurotunnel should also be able to charge electric vehicles (from bikes to cars) onboard.

With the highspeed electrified rail lines also serving as rights of way for HVDC connectors linking large scale CSP, wind and nuclear plants to load centres. Coal gasification plants co-firing with natural gas to make up the rest of the mix.
Shift the focus from making liquid biofuels to making biogas and use it to supplement the increasing use of natural gas in transport applications.
Biogas and wind power can bring money and jobs to rural communities, whilst high speed rail will improve cities by improving transport options and adding value to existing real estate.

Um clett on what planet is around 50 mpk the same as 68 and 75 ? Also unlike the rotary wich isnt improving much milage wise each new fuel cell is a good bit better then the last...

Also you forget this is japan they dont have the same mix of power plants.

You also forget the fact a bev isnt 100% eff and you forget that electrolyzers arnt still 60% eff like they were back in the disco era that 60 kwh per kg figure came from.

You also forget again its a freaking rotary engine running a genset made by a company not exactly known for making high milage cars.... Its ONLY purpose is fuel security not fuel economy.

Ill let this sink in.. japan cares most about securing a domestic source of fuel and as they have nuke and nuke and geo and nuke and wind and nuke and very little land guess what they need to use? Yes h2.

Its basicaly a hedge in case the very likely event that all bleep breaks loose in the fossil fuel markets before they can roll out fuel cells.

Now ill give you all the real numbers that control these peoples views on future cars.

They force through a building plan for say 100 gw of nuke plants. Every gw of plant enables 20000 kg of fuel to be made an hour so we are making 2000 metric tons of h2 every hour almost 50000 metric tons a day and the cars only need to be refilled every 3-4 days...

So you have enough fuel to power about 40 million cars. So the gov eats the cost of the plants and taxes the h2 fuel to get it back... and in the end it works out just fine and even japan with its small landmass can manage it ... and no worries about what climate change will do to fuel crops or wind or wave or solar.

And concidering how much fuel is in japan its easy for the h2 to pay for the entire thing over the next 60 years those plants will rumble on... and pay for the roads and alot else too.

Cant say that about bev.

Hydrogen will always be more expensive per kWh than natural gas or electrical power.

1kWh of electricity will give you 0.7kWh of hydrogen IE the hydrogen will cost 40% more than electric just getting it to the car. Similarly if the hydrogen comes from natural gas the hydrogen will have a price premium over the original fuel due to to conversion losses.

wintermane2000 if you consider an alternative scenario using wind power to charge plug in hybrids, the turbines can be installed and operating in 10 months rather than 10 years for a nuke plant, the electric range of the hybrid say 20 miles will replace the first 20 miles of gasoline used in each journey every day. This would cover about 2/3's of all transport requirements and make the contribution from biofuels seem much greater.

Hydrogen electrolysis could be a useful dump load during times of very low demand, but due to its primary energy requirements it will never be adopted on a large scale.


You state that 1 MWh of electricity will produce 20,000 kg of H2? That means that the production of 1kg requires 50 Wh of electricity.

That same kg of H2 can be converted (according to the numbers provided here by Mazda here and by GM for the Equinox) into about 12.5 kWh of electrical power to drive a vehicle.

Can I interest you in investing in some rotating magnetic fields? Or put another way: Check your numbers.

"Shift the focus from making liquid biofuels to making biogas and use it to supplement the increasing use of natural gas in transport applications."

Gasify biomass to methane, solar thermally heat buildings and convert trucks and buses to natural gas. This is a formula that might just reduce the amount of imported oil.

Um nat I said gw not mw.

A mwh can make around 20 kg of h2. A gw produces the 20 metric tons of h2 I was talking about.


you had said 20000 metric tons of H2 for 1 GW-hour and almost 50000 metric tons per day.

It should be 20 metric tons of H2 per hour for every
GW of power and about 480 metric tons of H2 per day!!

So 1 Gigawatt of power can produce about 480 metric tons of H2 per day.
This would be 1680 metric tons of H2 in 3.5 days.
1,680,000 kg of H2 in 3.5 days.

Can you power 40 million cars with 1680 metric tons of H2
every 3.5 days ?

This would be 0.042 kg of H2 for every car every 3.5 days.

Considering 100 Gigawatts of power, this would mean
4.2 kg of H2 for every car every 3.5 days which seems

Man you guys suck at math.

I said 2000 metric tons per hour for all 100 reactors.

A single reactor will belt out about 1140 mw. Thats enough to keep about 400000 cars running if they refill 4 kg every 3-4 days.

100 reactors in about 25-30 nuke plants will thus keep 40 million average cars running.

And thats with current tech on all ends. With the goals of 75% eff fuel cells met that will balloon to 60 million cars and then with a better electrolyzer we could hit 80 million.

Ah I see ya got it Jorge. The key to remember why its soo much fuel is your making fuel 24/7 yet only refueling every 72-96 hours per car.

Its even better if its just a commute car as the average commute is only 30 miles a day thats only half a kilo of fuel or less in many cars resulting in a refill every 2 weeks.


Even a DIY mechanic can convert a ICEcar to BEV and get a +30 mile range with cheap lead-acid batteries.

I see a business in converting cars to EV. Once people see that they can have one of their cars be an EV and never have to go to gasoline stations, they will love them. They just do not want to pay $50,000 for a vehicle with less utility.

Such businesses are common enough already, in fact there's one near me-

Also, Poulsen Hybrid seems to be getting closer to production.

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