First Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE Produced for Norway

Japanese manufacturer Mazda has completed its first RX-8 Hydrogen RE vehicle, destined for the Norwegian market. Why Norway, you may ask. Because this country has in place a program aimed at easing hydrogen travel for a 580 kilometer stretch of highway. Called HyNor, the program's goal is to develop a fueling infrastructure between Stavanger and Oslo.

This version of the RX-8 Hydrogen RE is a little different than its Japanese counter part, currently leased in Japan. It is based on European specifications and comes with left-hand drive and a manual transmission.

According to Mazda, the RX-8 Hydrogen RE is the world's first rotary engine vehicle. It operates on both high-pressure hydrogen and gasoline thanks to its dual-fuel system that enables switching between the two modes.

When the system runs out of hydrogen fuel, it automatically switches over to gasoline. In the case of long-distance trips (or, for that matter, where there are no hydrogen fuel supplies available) the driver can manually switch from hydrogen to gasoline by the use of a button, a move which can be done in motion (the reverse operation requires the car to be stopped).

The rotor-shaped fuel mode selection button is located at the bottom right of the driver's side instrument panel, and is illuminated in blue when in hydrogen mode.

Leasing of this vehicle on the Norwegian market is set to commence this summer, as agreed to by Mazda in November 2007 and following validation on the roads of the respective market in October 2008.

The official unveiling of the car in Norway will take place on May 11, in Oslo. The first unit will take part in ceremonies marking the official opening of HyNor’s hydrogen filling stations.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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