Hydrogen is an alternative fuel whose viability is directly dependent on the amount of money and effort placed behind its development. Electric cars have an inherent advantage as the power grid infrastructure is already in place, but hydrogen requires a whole different kind of transportation and filling station other than the outlet in your garage. But Mazda is still pushing forward with its hydrogen dreams by delivering the first of its Premacy Hydrogen Rotary Engine Hybrids to the Iwatani Corporation.
Utilizing the same hydrogen rotary engine that powers their RX-8 Hydrogen RE and adding an electric motor, the Premacy (a model we Americans know as the Mazda5) has twice the range of the RX-8, standing at about 200km or 124 miles. The rotary is a dual-mode rotary, which means it is viable running on both hydrogen and gas made possible by a dual-fuel system. This makes it a much more viable vehicle for the current situation regarding hydrogen, as a person too far from home to find a hydrogen refilling station can operate on petrol for the time being, solving range anxiety problems.
The partnership with Iwatani seems like a good match, as the energy giant has a long track record of both supporting the arts and protecting the environment. Naoji Iwatani, founder of the Iwatani Corporation, stated as a corporate philosophy, “Become a person needed by society, as those needed by society prosper.” A good philosophy I feel, not overly-philanthropic or too capitalistic. Hopefully some of these hydrogen test cars from Mazda will start making their way to America!