Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen Concept
From Mazda press: The RX-8 Hydrogen RE is a hydrogen rotary engine vehicle which operates on both high-pressure hydrogen and gasoline. It is equipped with Mazda's dual-fuel system that enables switching between hydrogen and gasoline fuel modes.
Upon approval by Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, driving tests on public roads commenced in October 2004. Since February 2006, eight cars have been leased to environmentally-conscious government and private enterprises for use in initiatives and at events.
As for operations abroad, Mazda announced its participation in the Norwegian hydrogen highway project "HyNor" and will deliver 30 RX-8 Hydrogen REs in succession starting in 2008.
The RX-8 Hydrogen RE has a significant role in the promotion of a global hydrogen society and has been highly acclaimed around the world.
Evolving technologies of the RX-8 Hydrogen RE
In preparation for introduction to the marketplace, an automatic transmission was made available to increase user-friendliness. In addition, the driving range in hydrogen fuel mode was extended to 100 km (in 10/15 mode) thanks to a larger fuel tank and improved fuel efficiency technology.
When the system runs out of hydrogen fuel, it automatically switches over to gasoline. Further, in the case of long-distance trips and trips to areas with no hydrogen fuel supply, the driver can manually switch from hydrogen to gasoline at the touch of a button, even while the vehicle is moving. The rotor-shaped fuel mode selection button is located at the bottom right of the driver's side instrument panel, and is illuminated in blue when in hydrogen mode.
Switching from gasoline to hydrogen is possible only when the vehicle is stopped.
A hydrogen fuel level meter, used fuel indicator and warning light, among other features, are integrated into the instrument panel within the driver's line of sight.
While the vehicle is running, either the hydrogen or the gasoline fuel indicator is always illuminated to show which fuel is being used. The fuel switch is illuminated only when the vehicle is running in hydrogen mode.
In addition, a chime rings before and after the fuel mode changes to notify the driver.
While the exterior design is based on the Mazda RX-8, it can be easily identified as a hydrogen rotary engine vehicle at a glance. Mazda aimed to give it a clean image. The basic exterior color is White Pearl Mica with blue highlights, and it sports Hydrogen RE decals and emblems on its body.
Because the hydrogen tanks are installed in the trunk, the cabin is as spacious as the base vehicle, and accommodates four adults comfortably. Two hydrogen fuel tanks are installed in the trunk and are pressurized to 35 MPa, the current national standard for hydrogen fueling stations.
The hydrogen filler valve is the same as those widely used in fuel cell vehicles, and is located on the opposite side of the car to the gasoline filler.