Mazda Motor Corp. will use its hydrogen-fueled rotary engine technology (earlier post) as a range extender for an electric vehicle it plans to start leasing next year, according to Mazda President Takashi Yamanouchi as reported in The Nikkei.
In 2009, Mazda began commercial leasing of the Mazda Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid (earlier post). The Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid featured a series-hybrid drivetrain, which combines Mazda’s hydrogen rotary engine with an electric motor.
The automaker is due to stop producing rotary engines in June, but intends to use the technology to generate power from hydrogen and extend the continuous driving distance of EVs. Mazda, a latecomer to the EV market, plans to close the gap with Nissan Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. by tapping its proprietary rotary engine technology.
“We should be able to make the most of the rotary engine’s advantages, such as the ease of making it compact and safe,” Yamanouchi said.