February 23, 2007

Hydrogen-powered Mazda RX-8 undergoing cold-weather testing

Hiroshima, Japan – Mazda Motor Corporation is currently testing the cold-weather performance of its hydrogen cars, including a Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE. The testing, which coincides with the Environment and Transport Symposium on Hydrogen Energy being held in Japan, is in cooperation with the Hokkaido Regional Development Bureau (HRDB), a division of the country’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

For testing, only the vehicle’s tires have been changed to suit the cold weather; the vehicle is otherwise identical to the model currently available for commercial lease in Japan.

“It’s a real privilege for Mazda to contribute to these activities in Hokkaido, which are part of the drive to build a hydrogen-based, eco-friendly society,” says Akihiro Kashiwagi, program manager in charge of Mazda’s hydrogen rotary engine development. “We plan to demonstrate that vehicles powered by Mazda’s unique hydrogen rotary engine are very practical even in cold regions. Since hydrogen cars with rotary engines are relatively cheap to produce and can also run on ordinary gasoline, we believe they will have an important role to play as we move closer to a hydrogen energy society. Mazda intends to continue doing its part toward achieving a more environmentally-friendly hydrogen energy society in the future.”

The HRDB is conducting feasibility studies into the uses of hydrogen in snowy climates, and plans to conduct various cold-weather tests in and around the cities of Muroran and Noboribetsu, in Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan’s northernmost island. The region produces abundant volumes of byproduct hydrogen and is one of the most feasible locations in Hokkaido for a hydrogen fuel network.

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