Mazda Plans to Develop Hydrogen Vehicle

August 20, 2003 by Jeff Shepard

Mazda Motor Corp. (Tokyo, Japan) announced plans to develop a rotary-engine car powered by hydrogen, which would be far less costly than fuel cell cars and more environment-friendly than gasoline vehicles. Mazda will unveil a prototype car at the Tokyo Motor Show in October 2003, aiming to put it on the market in some five years. The car, with a roughly 150HP engine and based on the RX-8 sports car, would be able to run about 200km on a single tank of fuel.

The vehicle would cost 3 million to 4 million yen (US$38,000 to $51,000) to build a car mounted with the hydrogen-powered rotary engine. The sum is significantly lower than the 200 million to 300 million yen (US$2.6 million to $3.8 million) needed to produce a newly developed fuel cell car, as the hydrogen rotary-engine car is able to utilise parts of gasoline cars. Rotary engines are less fuel-efficient than internal combustion engines when running on gasoline, but are expected to be more efficient than standard engines when powered by hydrogen.