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With the delivery of the first RX-8 Hydrogen REs in Japan, Mazda is claiming the first fleet deliveries of a street legal hydrogen/gasoline hybrid vehicle. Two examples have been delivered -- one to Idemitsu Kosan Co. Ltd. of Tokyo, and another to Iwatani International Corp. in Osaka.

The cars are to take part in the Japan Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Demonstration Project (JHFC), an evaluation designed to assess the viability of alternative-fuel technology out in the real world.

[Source: CarPoint Australia and Mazda]



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  • 19 Comments
      • 9 Years Ago
      Hindenburg burned because of fire in the cover. Just because of that, some generalize that hydrogen is safe. There are plenty of real life examples of hydrogen detonating and a few people have been killed. It is unclear whether hydrogen will be a larger safety hazard than gasoline in an automotive application. Hopefully this Mazda will add to the hydrogen safety knowledge base. There should be serious concerns about a hydrogen leak inside enclosed parking structures.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Chad, while you say that I am sadly mistaken, you just added to my point (which is pretty similar to yours). Please re-read my post. I never argued that nuclear power plants are unsafe, only that they have a stigma of being unsafe. There is a difference.

      Regarding figures: There are actually 441 nuclear power plants operating worldwide according to Wikipedia.

      There were 56 total deaths directly related to the Chernobyl according to IAEA, with as many as 4000 deaths related to accident illnesses (this is a very important number to leave out Chad) (Source: Wikipedia). That's where the stigma comes in... I think in the public's eyes, dying from cancer is scarier than other forms of death- that's not to say that fossil fuel technologies don't cause cancer or other occupational hazard deaths, just that nuclear technology has that stigma attached to it. While nuclear technology may be statistically safer, the thought of one plant causing many deaths or four legged babies, etc to the general population surrounding the plant, whether rational or not, causes malaise in the public.

      • 9 Years Ago
      My car is hydrogen powered like many in the U.S. We store it reasonably safely as a hydrocarbon with much higher energy densities than most if not all other hydrogen storage schemes. We call it gasoline.
      • 9 Years Ago
      ...cool...

      I wonder what the gasoline mpg numbers will end up being, in reality after a bit of use...
      • 9 Years Ago
      As much as all you blame mongers want to blame the "enviros" or "greenies" for not supporting nuclear technology, no one wants a nuclear power plant in their backyard no matter what political belief one has.

      John Blake, I haven't done the research to back up your claim that Japan and France have had no major problems. But people are likely to think of the near catastrophe of 3 Mile Island and uber-catastrophe of Chernobyl when a nuclear power plant is propsed in their neighborhood.

      However, current nuclear powerplant designs, limit the risks that caused 3 Mile Island and Chernobyl to occur. A better solution than blaming the "enviros" is reducing the stigma that nuclear powerplants have in our society as a whole. Education is a lot better than spreading useless ignornant opinion about those whose opinion you don't agree with.

      There is nothing wrong with having concern for the place we inhabit and demanding that there are no environmental or safety concerns with whatever technology is put into production.
      • 9 Years Ago
      "Why an RX-8?"

      Because rotary engines are a lot less complex and a lot easier to fortify for burning really, really volatile gasses like hydrogen (as opposed to pistons/valves/cams/crankshaft/connecting rods... you have two roters and an eccentric shaft) ... and the only car that has a production rotary is the RX-8.

      "They killed the efficiency of the rotary, there must be something silly going on here"

      Rotaries have never been very efficient. Mazda almost died in the 70's because they were in the process of moving their entire fleet to rotary power when the gas crisis hit, and figures like 17 MPG in relatively light-n-small cars weren't doing it for anyone. Ironically, rotaries have always been very clean... being able to run without catalytic converters for the first stages of the clean air act by only putting a thermal reactor in the exhaust manifold (a chamber that got hot to burn off any extra hydrocarbons). The Renesis rotary (the updated version in the RX-8) actually won engine of the year because of how clean it is. And you have to admit, 250 HP from a NA 1.3 liter is impressive.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Ahh, Stephen, you are sadly mistaken. You see, nuclear reactors are much SAFER than such dangerous things like refineries. You might want to take a look at the ACTUAL FIGURES for the 'uber-disasters' at 3 Mi & Chernobyl. They really were not hardly anything. And considering the some 200-something reactors around the world today. Chernobyl had a total of 60 radiation-related deaths to date. The oil refineries are even more dangerous, and effect at least as many people. The ONLY reason one would not want these as opposed to a refinery or coal plant or anything else to generate power is for a political statement or because of sheer ignorance. As I mentioned in an earlier post above, when more danger is present, safety measures are greater. Oh yeah, btw, Chernobyl was a result of UNAUTHORIZED EXPERIMENTS, not because nuclear is inherently unsafe. Our government is currently planning to build more reactors, and they will be just as safe and create less pollution than coal or oil plants. The waste will be stored away safely, and no harm will be done. Look into nuclear reactors compared to other forms of energy. They are by far the best decision to proceed with. Let me know if you find anything to prove me wrong.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Oops, I stand corrected. Sorry Stephen, I read it in a hurry and it looked like you were one of those who were over the top against nuclear power. I guess I should be more careful flaming another person w/o enough sleep ;-)
      • 9 Years Ago
      >Can you imagine, a fleet of Hindenburgs -- regularly colliding in vast and deadly fireballs?

      Hindenburg went up because of flammable dirigible coverings, not the hydrogen itself. In an accident, if a hydrogen tank were punctured the gas would rapidly dissipate, as opposed to, say gasoline, which is quite the volatile/flammable. You could say we have hundreds of millions of little Hindenburgs on the roads right now.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I really hope there will be more about hybrid cars in the near future. I think we really need an alternative to gasoline. A ten for Mazda today :)
      • 9 Years Ago
      I say construct several nuclear plants in out of the way locations and use the power to generate hydrogen and transport the hydrogen to appropriate distribution facilites. Voila, no more middle eastern oil!
      Might take a few years and require a government directed
      energy independence effort but we can't wait any longer and we need a bold vision for the future.
      • 9 Years Ago
      How much carbon-based fuel will we have to burn to get the hydrogen?
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