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Mazda to Focus on Direct Injection, Hybrids and Hydrogen Rotaries

The dual-fuel hydrogen rotary hybrid van will go to mass production within 3 years.

In a speech at the Tokyo Motor Show introducing Mazda’s line-up, Mazda President and CEO Hisakazu Imaki outlined his company’s three-pronged approach for balancing environmental and energy issues with the “Zoom-Zoom” driving experience.

First, Mazda is making the gasoline direct-injection in-line four-cylinder Mazda’s primary engine. “We believe direct injection is the best choice to achieve the highest balance between environmental protection and a Zoom-Zoom driving performance.

The current Mazdaspeed6 Atenza is the first example of the direct-injection strategy. Using a 2.3-liter Direct-Injection Spark-Ignition (DISI) turbocharged engine, the Atenza delivers a robust 274 hp (201 kW), although fuel economy is not exemplary: EPA ratings of 20 mpg US city, 26 mpg US highway.

Mazda will use the MZR 2.3-liter Turbo—which it likens to having the output of a 3.5- or 4.0-liter V6—in a series of upcoming vehicles.

Imaki said that Mazda would integrate its new “smart idling stop system” (earlier post) with the DISI engines and have them in mass production in three years.

Second is steady focus on hybrid development. Mazda has integrated its own mild hybrid assist solutions in several of its concept vehicles. Leveraging synergies with Ford, it will be producing hybrid versions of the Tribute (earlier post), and will soon begin pilot testing a number of the Tribute hybrids in North America.

In the near future, we promise to introduce further hybrid mass production vehicles.

—CEO Imaki

Finally, Mazda continues its push to developing a hydrogen-fueled rotary combustion engine for a mass production vehicle. Imaki affirmed that Mazda will begin leasing its RX-8 RE hydrogen cars (earlier post) starting next spring, a half-year earlier than planned.

Imaki also said that the company intends to offer the Premacy RE hydrogen hybrid concept vehicle, which combines the dual-fuel, hydrogen/gasoline RENESIS rotary engine with a Mazda mild hybrid system (earlier post) as a mass production vehicle within three years.



Rotary engines are already abysmal on fuel (RX-8 is around 15mpg observed), so why run it on hydrogen. uy.

Mikhail Capone

I wonder what kind of fuel economy their direct-injection 4 would get if it had a more decent output (say 140-150hp). If they keep the turbo, it could probably be downsized to a 1.5 liters...

Ryan Palo

The reason they are tried the rotary engine on hydrogen as well as direct injection will probably make the gas version look like a fossil. the reason it gets bad gas mileage has a lot to do with the way the gas enters the combustion stage. but i do believe they say direct injection will solve this problem, making it more economical. as far as hydrogen being a good candidate for rotary engines is because hydrogen gas has a lower temperature/pressure point for combustion then gasoline, so on a piston engine, the intake valves may still be open causing a preignition. with a rotor, it has no valves, there is no escape for the hydrogen gas.

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