Mazda is to begin leasing the RX-8 fuel cell powered car at the beginning of next year.
The Japanese automaker said that the car will utilise a duel-fuel engine technology dubbed RENESIS, which would make use of both petrol and hydrogen fuels. The rotary powertrain injects hydrogen into the engine directly using an onboard electronic control unit.
The firm claims that the car is unchanged from a conventional petrol vehicle, allowing for four passenger seats despite the inclusion of high-pressure hydrogen tanks. It will be demonstrated at the Tokyo Auto Salon 2006 show next month.
Mazda’s announcement is the latest in the growing hydrogen fuel cell industry. Hyundai recently announced that it would release as mass produced fuel cell version of its Tucson SUV in five years time. Toyota has also announced that it is developing a fuel cell car.
A number of breakthroughs have been made recently in the development of fuel cells, as researchers look to come up with ways of storing hydrogen so as to make it cost-effective and competitive with other forms of fuel such as gasoline and diesel.