2005 Mazda RX-8 4dr Cpe 6-Spd Manual exterior front upper leftEnlarge Photo
claims that Mazda has confirmed that it will put a hydrogen-powered rotary engine into production, though Mazda Europe CEO James Muir said "it won't be in production for at least five years." Currently, Mazda is testing 30 hydrogen-powered RX-8s with a Norwegian company, HyNor.
Muir still cites fuel sourcing and storage as the big obstacles to mass-market viability for hydrogen-powered vehicles. Like most fuel-cell vehicles, Mazda's rotary hydrogen vehicles will store and use hydrogen in its gaseous form, not liquid as in BMW's hydrogen internal combustion 7 Series.
But with even the BMW's optimally efficient (and complicated) liquid hydrogen storage still approximately four times less energy dense by volume than hydrocarbon fuels like gasoline, according to Wikipedia
, hydrogen engineers clearly have their work cut out for them. Gaseous compressed hydrogen is even less energy-dense, requiring enlarged tanks for adequate range.
Autocar believes that a next-gen RX-7 would be the likeliest candidate for a hydrogen-fueled rotary engine. With no mention of an RX-8, we wonder if they know something we don't know about the future of Mazda's rotary-powered sports car.--Colin Mathews