In order to contribute to a greener environment, Mazda Motor Corporation developed its well-known Hydrogen Rotary Engine (RE). The Hydrogen RE combines the company’s trademark and original Zoom-Zoom performance, which Mazda calls the ‘emotion of motion.’ Since 2006, Mazda has already been leasing the RX-8 Hydrogen RE to various business corporations and government bodies. This is done in order to exhibit the efficiency of the engine in burning hydrogen as a means of generating motive power while at the same time, emitting zero carbon dioxide.
However, the hydrogen engine with its inherent ‘emotion in motion’ is more than just about clean performance. In fact, the overall dynamic and smooth driving experience is not compromised, because the RX-8 Hydrogen RE also offers an extremely powerful combustion engine that runs in gasoline. The model’s dual-fuel system allows one to conveniently switch between gasoline and hydrogen fuel. The RX-8 Hydrogen RE still boasts of the remarkable features of the initial model RX-8, including a four-seater sports coupe and freestyle doors.
It was in the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show when Mazda first exhibited the new Mazda Hydrogen RE Hybrid. This year, Mazda has commenced its leasing of the hydrogen engine-powered car. It is through the utilization of the improved hybrid system and the refinements to the engine that excellent driving performance can be truly achieved. Some of the key concepts that were incorporated to the engine enhancements involve the following:
• powerful, high-speed, fun driving,
• larger trunk space and higher seating capacity (up to five full-sized adults),
• longer periods of in-between refueling.
Perhaps the main reason why RX-8 Hydrogen RE is one of the most outstanding creations of Mazda is because of the integration of their mission to keep their cars environment-friendly. The materials that were used to further reduce the emission of carbon dioxide were plant-derived. Thus, aside from providing optimum car performance, these materials also exhibit great resistance to shock, heat, and damages caused by fire and extreme weather conditions. RX Hydrogen RE also ensures versatility, as its interior and exterior design (seat covers, audio system) and other various features offer high-quality dynamism for all car enthusiasts.
Up to now, Mazda Motor Corporation is active in developing different technologies that serve as the company’s contribution in achieving a sustainable energy and power plant. Mazda takes part in providing clean performing vehicles that run in alternative fuels like hydrogen, diesel, and gasoline.
For increased acceleration performance, the initial RX-8 Hydrogen RE was further enhanced. A total 40 percent increase in energy generation resulted from the enchanced power unit. This is done by changing the core unit (the main hydrogen RE) to a transverse-style layout. Consequently, the resistance to intake and exhaust, as well as the efficiency of combustion significantly increased, and thus, providing better output for a wide range of engine velocity.
In order to complement the brand new hydrogen RE, a unique hybrid system concept was also developed. This is because the traditional hydrogen RE has poor efficiency of combustion, decreased torque and revolution range, which are all resolved with the new hybrid system. In addition, the system combines higher capacity for hydrogen with a more extensive range for hydrogen fueling—twice more efficient than that of the initial RX-8 Hydrogen RE. Despite these key changes, the vehicle still uses a dual-fuel system; thereby living up to the car’s practicality of use.
Instead of using the conventional combustion power-pump, the engine makes use of an electric motor rack. This is powered by the energy that comes from the combustion of hydrogen into electricity. Through this electric-drive innovation, the hybrid system is able to integrate maximal and efficient energy, quick responsiveness, and reduced consumption of fuel. Indeed, the new hybrid system concept paves the way for a driving pleasure that’s like no other.
Moreover, the most exceptional components of the hybrid system that includes the hydrogen RE, inverter, generator, battery, and electric motor, all works together in fully optimizing car performance. This is done by altering and controlling the way the system generates electricity and how the battery is discharged or recharged. This mechanism of hybrid system monitoring is largely dependent on the driving conditions to which the vehicle is subjected to. For instance, if the car is pulling away after a stop, the system runs on battery power. However, during steady running, the vehicle runs on hydrogen RE and on generator. When accelerating, the vehicle also runs on battery power, along with the hydrogen RE and the generator power. Alternatively, during deceleration, regeneration occurs through the motor when engine braking. The hydrogen RE then stops from being inactive, unless there is a need to recharge the battery.
Just like the initial Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE, the hybrid model also makes use of Mazda Biotechmaterial, which is a collective term for the plant-derived materials, such as biofabric and bioplastic, which the company develops. In order to showcase the best of Mazda technologies that cares for the environment, the company collaborates with various universities, corporations, and also the government bodies in the Hiroshima region. This is part of the company’s participation in the projects launched by government departments concerning Trade, Industry and Economy.
Mazda is the pioneering company which introduced the use of plant-derived bioplastic that exhibits remarkable properties such as resistance to intense shock, wear and tear, heat, and other unfavorable weather conditions. Additionally, the hybrid model of the Mazda Hydrogen RE makes use of these plant-derived materials for its seat covers and interior trimmings.
What’s so great about using such materials—bioplastic and biofabric—is their quality appearance that is not compromised even with their resistance properties. The most probable reason for this is the careful production of these materials and the in-depth research that was conducted prior to their manufacture. In particular, a “compatibilizer” was developed in order to melt flexible components that contribute to improved absorption of shock.
Lastly, Mazda introduced recycling of bumpers as a way to decrease waste on landfills. The company developed a system of collecting damaged bumpers and since March 2005 (when RX-8 made use of recycled bumpers), recycled bumpers has been continually applied on newer models. The hybrid model of the RX-8 Hydrogen RE is not an exception.