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MAZDA STARTS LEASING ROTARY HYDROGEN VEHICLES

rotary hydrogenJapanese authorities approve leases with two companies in the energy sector

HIROSHIMA, Japan— Mazda Motor Corporation received permission from Japan’s Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT) on February 10, 2006, to begin leasing the RX-8 Hydrogen RE to its first two corporate customers. These vehicles, equipped with a rotary engine, feature a dual-fuel system that allows the driver to select either hydrogen or gasoline with the flick of a switch. Mazda has started limited leasing of the vehicles and today concluded leases with two energy-related companies, marking the first lease contracts of a hydrogen-powered rotary engine equipped vehicle in the world. Delivery of the vehicles is scheduled to take place in late March 2006.

Idemitsu Kosan Co. Ltd. and Iwatani International Corporation, both companies operating in the energy sector, have leased one vehicle each. By the end of 2006, Mazda plans to lease about 10 RX-8 Hydrogen RE cars to local government and energy companies. In 2003, Mazda exhibited a RX-8 hydrogen rotary vehicle at the Tokyo Motor Show and received permission from MLIT in October 2004 to conduct public road tests for ongoing development and practical application of this advanced technology. Mazda undertook 29 months of development from the time of announcing the concept model to achieving the breakthrough, real-world rotary hydrogen vehicle.

Employing a dual-fuel system, the Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE can run on either high-pressure hydrogen gas or gasoline. This combination offers excellent convenience because it can be driven in remote areas where hydrogen fueling stations are not readily available, easing driver concerns about running out of fuel. In addition, this system boasts great environmental friendliness—zero emission of carbon dioxide (CO 2) gas and near zero nitrogen oxide (NOx) emission when fueled by hydrogen—together with the natural driving feel of an internal combustion engine. It uses engine parts and production facilities that already exist in Mazda’s inventory, so this innovative engine can be built with a high degree of reliability at a relatively low cost.

The standard monthly lease price is 420,000 yen with tax included (400,000 yen/month without tax) which is almost half the monthly lease price of a fuel cell vehicle already available in Japan.

With the RX-8 Hydrogen RE, Mazda continues to advance the possibilities of the internal combustion engine and improve the performance of hydrogen-fueled rotary engine vehicles. It represents another Mazda contribution to a more environmentally friendly hydrogen energy society of the future.

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