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2008 Geneva Motor Show: Mazda5 Hydrogen RE Hybrid At A Glance

Mazda5 Hydrogen RE HybridIn 2006 and 2007, Mazda Motor Corporation took major steps towards initiating a hydrogen-fuelled society. In 2006, it became the first automaker in the world to lease a rotary hydrogen vehicle with the RX-8 Hydrogen RE, a sports car that can be driven using either hydrogen or petrol with clean performance and Zoom-Zoom driving fun. It uses the acclaimed RENESIS rotary engine from the normal RX-8 converted to burn hydrogen. This process requires only minor changes so that – after converting to burn hydrogen – the same rotary engine can also continue to use petrol in the same high-rev manner as the normal RENESIS engine. Also in 2006, Mazda presented the Mazda5 Hydrogen RE Hybrid concept at the Geneva Motor Show to high acclaim. And then in 2007, HyNor (Hydrogen Road of Norway) announced that it will lease 30 RX-8 Hydrogen RE vehicles starting this year as part of programme to initiate a hydrogen-fuel infrastructure in Norway.

Another step is now taken at Geneva 2008 with the first European presentation of the development version of the Mazda5 Hydrogen RE Hybrid, which the company plans to lease within fiscal year 2008 in Japan. Mazda’s new low-emissions people-carrier is more practical to use than its sports car sibling – with room for five adults and their luggage – and thanks to improvements in the hydrogen engine and use of a new electric hybrid system it has better driving performance and the hydrogen-fuelled range between refuelling is double that of the RX-8 RE Hydrogen.

Evolving the Hydrogen RE Hybrid system for more efficiency and more range
The Mazda5 Hydrogen RE Hybrid uses an evolved dual-fuel (hydrogen + petrol) RENESIS rotary engine, increased hydrogen fuel capacity and an electric motor to produce 40 percent more power than the already fun to drive RX-8 Hydrogen RE. To achieve this, the engine layout was changed – from a longitudinal, front-engine, rear-wheel drive in the RX-8 to a transversal front-engine, front-wheel drive architecture in the Mazda5 – and its intake/exhaust resistance and combustion efficiency were improved. It has a new hybrid drive system that converts energy from hydrogen or petrol combustion into electricity that powers the electric motor. Due to progress in electric drive technology, the system realises high energy-efficiency and a quick response for powerful driving performance allied with low fuel consumption.

  • New RENESIS dual-fuel hydrogen/petrol engine hybrid system that produces a total of 110 kW, 40 percent more output than RX-8 Hydrogen RE
  • Using either hydrogen or petrol, the rotary engine powers a synchronous motor-type generator and lithium-ion battery, which runs an electric motor producing 110 kW to drive the wheels
  • Fuel consumption lowered thanks to the idle-stop system
  • 100 percent increase (from 100 km of RX-8 Hydrogen RE to 200 km) in hydrogen-fuelled range between refuelling
  • Electric batteries placed under floor
  • Hydrogen fuel placed behind the second row seats

Using energy according to driving conditions
The main components of the hybrid system include the hydrogen/petrol rotary engine and generator, inverter, motor, and battery. These are optimally controlled to generate electricity, recharge and discharge the battery in accordance with driving conditions in the following situations:

  • when pulling away from stop, running on battery power
  • when driving steadily, running on generator power produced by the rotary engine
  • when accelerating, running on generator power produced by the rotary engine and supplemental battery power
  • when decelerating, regeneration by motor during braking and engine braking
  • and when stationary, the hydrogen rotary engine stops idling unless the battery needs recharging

Mazda biotech material1 for a resource-recycling society
Not only do Mazda5 Hydrogen RE Hybrid’s green engine technologies take society a big step closer to a hydrogen-fuel future, the vehicle also uses bioplastics for its interior parts that, when discarded, do not harm the environment. Mazda has become the first automaker to develop a plant-sourced bioplastic with a high-quality appearance combined with shock and wear resistance suitable for extrusion-moulded automobile interior parts. This truly green material is the product of the New Regional Consortium Research Development Programme supported by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry – including companies, universities2 and the government in Hiroshima Prefecture – which Mazda is a part of.

1 General term for Mazda-developed plant-sourced materials including bioplastic and biofabric
2 Consortium members are: Hiroshima University, Nishikawa Rubber Co., Ltd., Hiroshima Prefecture Technical Research Institute (Seibu Industrial Technology Center), Daikyo-Nishikawa Co., Ltd., Japan Steel Works Ltd., Kinki University Engineering Department, National Research Institute of Brewing, Yasuhara Chemical Co., Ltd., MANAC, Inc., Mazda Motor Corporation (2 universities, 6 corporations and 2 experimental and research organizations).

In a joint venture with Teijin Ltd, a company with research labs in Chugoku and Shikoku, and Teijin Fibers Ltd, Mazda succeeded in becoming the first in the auto industry to develop a 100 percent plant-sourced biofabric made of polylactate fibres that exhibits excellent wear, fire and weather resistance for use in automobile seat covers. The new Mazda5 Hydrogen RE Hybrid uses this Mazda biotech material for its seats and interior trim.

Mazda5 Hydrogen RE Hybrid Main Specifications (target values)

Vehicle Overall length 4565 mm
Overall width 1745 mm
Overall height 1615 mm
Wheelbase 2750 mm
Seating capacity 5 persons
Engine Type RENESIS hydrogen/petrol rotary engine (dual-fuel system)
Fuel Hydrogen and gasoline
Motor Maximum power 110 kW
Type Synchronous motor
Generator Type Synchronous motor
Battery Type Lithium-ion (Li-ion)
Tyres Front/rear 195/65R15 DUNLOP ENASAVE (non-petroleum tyre)

Source: Mazda

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