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The first (of 30) Mazda Hydrogen RX-8 RE made its way to Norway last October, but that vehicle was simply imported from Japan. The first Norwegian-spec RX-8 Hydrogen RE was delivered to the Norwegian government this week. What's the difference? Well, left-hand-drive for one, and the European model also has a manual transmission.

The car will participate in the official national hydrogen project, HyNor, and will be paraded for the media during the official opening of the refueling stations on May 11. It's not all government test programs that Mazda's interested in the northern European country: RX-8 Hydrogen RE leases will start in Norway this summer. More details after the jump.


[Source: Mazda]




PRESS RELEASE:

Mazda Builds First RX-8 Hydrogen RE for Norway

HIROSHIMA, Japan-Mazda Motor Corporation today announced that it has built the first Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE vehicle with Norwegian specifications, developed specifically for participation in HyNor, Norway's national hydrogen project. The first unit will take part in ceremonies marking the official opening of HyNor's hydrogen filling stations. The initial opening ceremony will be held in Oslo on May 11, 2009. The RX-8 Hydrogen RE will then undergo certification to meet local standards and will be used for maintenance staff training. Mazda plans to commence leasing of Norwegian specification RX-8 Hydrogen RE models in Norway in summer 2009.

Unlike the RX-8 Hydrogen RE currently being leased in Japan, the HyNor-specification Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE is based on the latest European-specification Mazda RX-8 with left-hand drive and a manual transmission.

The HyNor project aims to enable hydrogen vehicles to travel along a 580-kilometer stretch of highway by establishing a chain of hydrogen stations between Stavanger and Oslo in Norway. Mazda agreed to collaborate with HyNor on the project in November 2007 and began validation of the RX-8 Hydrogen RE's driving performance on Norwegian public roads in October 2008.

History of Mazda's hydrogen vehicle development
1991 Developed first hydrogen rotary engine vehicle, HR-X
1992 Conducted test drive of golf cart equipped with fuel cell
1993 Developed second hydrogen rotary engine vehicle, HR-X2
Developed MX-5 test vehicle equipped with hydrogen rotary engine
1995 Conducted Japan's first public road tests of a hydrogen rotary engine vehicle, Capella Cargo
1997 Developed Demio FC-EV
2001 Developed Premacy FC-EV, conducted first public road test in Japan
2003 Announced RX-8 Hydrogen RE prototype
2004 Received MLIT approval for public road testing of RX-8 Hydrogen RE
2006 Started commercial leasing of RX-8 Hydrogen RE in Japan (eight models have been delivered to date)
2007 Signed agreement to provide RX-8 Hydrogen REs to Hynor, a Norwegian national project
2008 Commenced public road tests in Norway with RX-8 Hydrogen RE validation vehicle
2009 Commenced commercial leasing of Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid in Japan
Produced the first Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE with Norwegian specifications

For more information on Mazda's hydrogen rotary engine vehicles, please visit:
http://www.mazda.com/mazdaspirit/env/



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