Mazda has Wankel engine! On hydrogen!
Mazda RX 8 hydrogen petrol car 10
Mazda Premacy hydrogen petrol car 05
Mazda RX 8 hydrogen petrol car 12
Mazda RX 8 hydrogen petrol car 03
It consumes 105 liters per 100 km traveled. Do not jump, does not have 2000 hp and 3400 Nm. There are not "liters" of gasoline, but hydrogen. Yes, you read right. Hydrogen. You removed the drain water to drink? Read and marvel.
"Gasoline?" "No." "Diesel?" "No." "Hydrogen?" "Man, you kidding me?"
Short history of Mazda brand and hydrogen
In 2007 the only two countries worldwide where hydrogen powered Mazda models runs the tests were Norway and, of course, Japan.For Japanese manufacturer, "madness" to build cars that operate in the future hydrogen powered only began 18 years ago, in 1991, the HR-X was the first model of the mark prototype, powered by a rotary engine fueled with hydrogen.Since then and until 2006, Mazda also introduced, launched and tested in various conditions six models whose sole purpose was to record zero emission of pollutants.
Whether we talk about cars powered only by batteries, or models equipped with hydrogen-powered rotary engine, the goal was always the same - zero emissions.
In 2003, Mazda introduced the world first prototype equipped with his famous RX8 rotary engine, but modified to be powered by hydrogen. A year later, the car on the road to test the ingenious solution of having a Mazda RX8 powered by two fuel types: gasoline and hydrogen.The idea of hydrogen powered cars Mazda is: Japanese manufacturer dreams in the future to be globally well established infrastructure to enable very large-scale marketing of these cars. But... they must accepted to have a level of acceptable performance and a price that people can afford it. It is a long way to that future and the biggest issue is currently the infrastructure. A hydrogen filling station is problematic and costly.
Frankly, when supply the car with hydrogen you may feel like you fed a NASA shuttle. The hydrogen station responsible have nervous smile, trying to be friendly and polite, but there is clearly they don't agree the idea that anybody can come to power station without understanding that has to do with expensive technology, in fact the latest.
Like any long journey, the idea of hydrogen future may be successful or not. There are many who still claim that the future is electric and hydrogen is only a trifle high-tech alternative that may prove more expensive and eventually unprofitable. Proof that Mazda thinks that is the fact that is working also at electric solutions. But, of course, do think of hydrogen. In 2005, Mazda launched Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid, a Mazda 5
from Japan, right-hand drive, front wheel drive, rotary engine powered by hydrogen or gasoline, plus an electric motor. Plus the "idle stop" which stops all engine functions. Plus interior trim made from plants. So if you ever wondered how eco can be a car, well, here it is. Mazda.
2006 was a very important year for Mazda cars powered by hydrogen for tests. Then was commenced the rental of Hydrogen RX8 for government and some carefully selected companies. Today, some companies and individuals (we have not explained exactly how to do the selection itself) can rent a Premacy in Japan and in Norway a RX8.The monthly price for such a car was around 3,000 euros. Giant. We can not tell the exact price for a kilogram of hydrogen, but that it varies around one euro.
Why Norway? Norway initiated, in 2007, a very ambitious project: Project HyNor. Backed by over 50 partners, including local authorities, government, industry and academia, plus Mazda obviously, HyNor is the first infrastructure project that will create a true hydrogen powered car society. Norwegians want to impose a future hydrogen as alternative fuel. And Mazda wants to prove that, if Norwegians can have a complete infrastructure for people to use hydrogen powered cars daily, also the world can do.
In May 2009, that HyNor complex partnership officially announced the opening of the Norwegian "Hydrogen Highway". Do not laugh, even so called "Hydrogen Road" is now opened in Norway and we actually talk about a highway 600 km long linking Oslo to Stavanger. What is particularly the highway? It is full of sites where you can fuel the car and others where hydrogen is produced, bottled or transported to filling stations.
Pure science-fiction. And very clean air. This is because hydrogen powered engine evacuate on the exhaust only water. "Can I drink?" I asked. Theoretically, yes, but is not very healthy, because you have a drink with carbohydrates in it, because the circulating motor oil. And thus the image with me sipping water from a RX8 exhaust was shattered.
Although emits only water, a hydrogen powered engine is not as efficient as an electric and that due to higher power. But, technically, is very close to a classic gasoline engine -internal combustion- and therefore is cheaper to develop, build and is as reliable as this one.
In addition, you must not use some batteries whose life is limited and at some point, must be recycled somehow. Moreover, a car must be modified to receive a serious electric propulsion system that is complex and expensive to produce. And then it becomes very expensive and so is an expensive car for sale ...
Thus, Mazda believes that, currently, the combustion engine powered alternative, at the driver will, with gasoline or hydrogen is a perfect solution. Japanese officials say they could build cars that work only with hydrogen, but there is no real distribution for the fuel, so you do not have a place to fill. And so you need gasoline to get to the next place where you can buy some hydrogen.
How's about .... "to buy hydrogen". Picard, we salute you! We are therefore in a period where research comes first, and "mice" are regular users, who pay good money per month to take part in this SF project. However, there are advantages for those who dare to drive a RX8 Hydrogen RE in Norway: Hydrogen cars are allowed to run for the bus lane in cities and thus save about 40 minutes in traffic, in same condition with a "normal" driver.
The hydrogen tank can store 105 liters, which are stored at a pressure of 350 bar. Mazda claims the car is full of sensors that continuously monitor hydrogen leaks and that everything is under control. And you're safe. I pray. If they say ...
Full hydrogen tank can cover 100 km. 105 liters of hydrogen per 100 km traveled. Yes, you read correctly, consumes 105 liters per 100 km traveled. Let us write together? 105 liters for 100 km. I knew that ecology is expensive. Petrol tank is only five liters, designed for use only when you have to drive up to 45 kilometers (gasoline range) for hydrogen to the next station.
By using a switch on the left of the wheel, you can change while driving from hydrogen to petrol supply or system automatically makes you "feel" that you run out of hydrogen.
Maximum engine power is 109 hp and maximum torque of 140 Nm, regardless of fuel. Power is delivered to the rear wheels through a manual transmission with five reports. If you've droved a RX8, the hydrogen version will shock you: is slow and the engine, at a time when it is powered by hydrogen, is as noisy as a diesel without turbo.
Switching to gasoline is very smooth and felt only when the engine noise regain the familiar sound. I did not have very many miles available for testing, but I can tell you that the car is very lazy. Fueled with H2, as you throttle more, the more noisy it is and although engine-speed increases, the car seemed to stand still.
Not a very pleasant feeling, especially since you are in a RX8. The only think that don't make you angry can be the 0 emissions.
With the Premacy, the things are better: in addition to the rotary engine that can be fueled with hydrogen and gasoline (150 liters of H2 and 25 liters of petrol), producing 109 hp, has an electric motor (with a lithium-ion) of 110 kW and 350 Nm. Add to this an automatic transmission and you have the image first hybrid hydrogen / gasoline / electric in the world.
Because battery helps acceleration, Premacy is more fun to drive than the RX8, because, simply to the point - goes much faster. That is much faster. Were not provided official data about acceleration and top speed, because the idea here is to have 0 emissions, not performance, but the difference is like from the earth to the moon. If RX8 would move as well as the Premacy, I would like to drive a car fueled with H2.
Another plus is the Premacy's autonomy, significantly higher due to the electric motor. H2/electric mode, autonomy is 200 km, and the gasoline / electric, 400 km. Combined, plus what you can drain the battery, resulting in more than 600 km range. Plus that, I repeat, Premacy is moving much better, being more nimble as RX8.
Very frankly, I do not know if hydrogen is the future of eco cars. I still bet on batteries. If you can make phone batteries ultralight and ten times smaller than batteries 15 years ago, most likely we will see the same in the auto industry.
This test was still a unique experience that I will not forget for a long time. Because of the development work at Mazda, plus huge interest shown by Norway in the HyNor project, we must respect and applaud. They really care and just try something. But their chosen path is very long and the automotive world is so full of unexpected ...
FULL IMAGE GALLERY