• Aug 5th 2008 at 3:01PM
  • 22
Click above for a high-res gallery of the Mazda Taiki concept.

The rotary engine is world-renowned for many things, but fuel-efficiency isn't one of them. Mazda wants to make Wankel's masterpiece the poster child for its hydrogen-powered endeavors, so it's considering offering a dual-fuel version of the engine in its next RX-badged offering.

According to AutoExpress, Mazda's RX-8 Hydrogen RE vehicle will evolve into a new model, dubbed the RX-9, and is rumored to be motivated by a hydrogen-gasoline powertrain that will offer 20 percent better fuel economy and emissions over a traditional gasoline-powered Rotary. The rear-wheel-drive coupe will take styling cues from the Taiki concept and a dash-mounted switch allows drivers to toggle between gasoline and hydrogen fuel systems. For city driving, the hydrogen setting will be employed, which will reduce fuel consumption (at the expense of a 20 percent drop in power), while the gasoline system can be employed when drivers desire more performance.

Mazda's goal is to make the rotary engine's performance, fuel economy and emissions up the level of gasoline-electric hybrids, and if AE's sources are to be believed, the hydrogen-powered RX-9 should arrive in 2012.

[Source: AutoExpress]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Zoom, zoom, BOOM!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Infrastructure means nothing. Look at the the Flex Fuel vehicles running around. Sure E-85 is out there but there are a total of zero E-85 pumps in Southeast Pa, yet i see countless numbers of compatable vehicles. It can be simply a way of being greenly smug.

      that said... the Taiki is awesome!
        • 7 Years Ago
        The front end of the Taiki is pure sex, but everything else has to go. Now the Furai concept is perfection (although a different type of vehicle).
        • 7 Years Ago

        Do some research on converting the Wankel motor to hydrogen, then feel free to say how hard it is.

        Hint: it's ridiculously easy; I think it's almost as simple as changing the injectors and plugs into something hydrogen can handle, and then adjusting the a/f ratio accordingly.

        Wankels would burn trash for fuel if you could get the fuel filters and air mixtures right :P

        For comparison, people have done propane fuel conversions on their RX-7's with very little trouble.
        • 7 Years Ago
        True, but it is much more costly and complicated to implement a hydrogen engine than to retrofit a car for biofuels.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'd be happy if the RX-9 came standard packed "reliability".
      • 7 Years Ago
      As much as I would love to see this happen, the infrastructure just isn't there. However, if this is somewhat affordable and sells in decent numbers, then there might be a market for the hydrogen and the infrastructure could be built.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I agree, the infrastructure will not be there for a long time so I question Mazda's choice to pursue this strategy. It may be one thing for a high end automaker like BMW to pursue it but a company like Mazda would be better served in making a hybrid or some other "green" machine. Riskier still is whether or not consumers will buy into hydrogen to power their cars in a big enough way to make financial sense.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Relax Benny, it's just a personal opinion. I owned a '93 RX-7 for quite a few years and enjoyed it. My nephew has a '96 RHD from Japan...Camry? You're funny. You like it so much, good for you. Oh and by the way, I wouldn't mind rolling out in a Mustang.
        • 7 Years Ago
        You do understand that RX stands for Rotary eXperiment right? And that without an rotary engine, it won't be an RX car?

        But I'm guessing you were saying Mazda needs to make a light, superb handling, RWD coupe with more power than a Miata. In which case I'm guessing that's what the Kabura will become in time.
      • 7 Years Ago
      that's nice but where am I suposed to find a hydrogen fill station... seriously i doubt the infrastructure will be there by 2012
        • 7 Years Ago
        I agree - I seriously doubt that hydrogen stations will be available in less that 4 years. Even ethanol stations are still not easy to find.

        To User: This is a quote from "autobloggreen", July 16th of this year:
        "Michael Morris, Chairman and CEO of American Electric Power, believes that the U.S. electrical grid is capable of supporting up to 60 million plug-in hybrid vehicles right now."

        Lucky for us, the grid is ready!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wow...if the RX-9 could look like the showcar and not dumbed-down too much, I'd buy one! I would LOVE to drive a car that looked like it's part of the 20th century, and not some retro-looking vehicle(!).
      • 7 Years Ago
      This article makes little sense. What's a loss of fuel economy mean? Comparing H2 consumption rates to gas in gallons? I don't think so.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Why have the driver switch at all? Why not just have the computer make the decision based on speed and throttle inputs like a stability system? Or, if it can only carry one fuel at a time, the computer would know that too.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Uh huh, great idea.
      You don't just need to pay for gas, but for hydrogen too. If you can find a filling station, preferably government-subsidized.
      But it's okay, in return you get "comparable" fuel consumption to a hybrid which has no further associated cost beyond the initial premium, which is likely on par with the hydrogen system.

      Another victim of the hydrogen hype...
      • 7 Years Ago
      Just drop the freakin' rotary technology and put in a standard gasoline engine. They suck oil, gas, 0-60 times and your wallet.
        • 7 Years Ago
        whole-heartedly agree. Slap a MazdaSpeed3 turbo 4 in there.
        • 7 Years Ago
        If you don't get it (which would be odd considering your username), Toyota has a nice Camry they'd like to sell you.

        RX-8 HAS to be rotary. RX-9 HAS to be as well.

        There is a compromise with ANY sports car. For the RX's lightweght, perfect balance, and quick high-revving engine you have to top off the oil (oh noes!) and spend a little more on gas.
        0-60? Who cares. You want wuick 0-60 times go buy a Mustang. The RX-8 is not a straightline car.

        • 7 Years Ago
        Hey, while you're at it, kill off any non-gasoline powerplant development, because nothing is as cost-efficient or feasible *right now* compared to gasoline engines.

        Oh wait, it's called development of *other* technologies....we do this for a reason. In this case, we can stick with an ICE in Wankel form because the Wankel can burn many types of fuel without any major design changes. You can't do that with a piston-powered motor, as they have to be designed with alternative fuels in mind. Now, I'm not saying you could go throw ethanol or hydrogen in your RX-7/8 right now, but from a manufacturing standpoint it's a trivial change.
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