back to article Mazda takes RX-8 for a spin on 'hydrogen highway'

Mazda - a company once more famous for its lightbulbs than its cars - has taken its hydrogen-powered RX-8 for a zip around Norway's roads, the revolutionary - literally - vehicle's first trip outside Japan. Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE Mazda's RX-8 Hydrogen RE: gas-powered The RX-8 uses a rotary engine that runs not only on …


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  1. Admiral Grace Hopper

    For shame

    You missed the opportunity to say "Wankel".

  2. Craig Wallace


    So, when using hydrogen, there is so little power that an overtaking manoeuvre that was previously safe would now render you dead? You'd better be damn sure there's a big warning sign somewhere to tell you that you are now driving on hydrogen!

  3. Mike

    Hydrogen is greener, of course?

    Ah yes greener of course, that's because it's not made from fossil fuels or by cracking water... oh wait, it is.... maybe it's not green at all, just less dirty when it burns.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    pr0n filter?

    -preumably that's why the name 'W***el engine' didn't appear in the article?

  5. andy gibson


    What gives, an entire article and no mention of the hilarious word "Wankel"

  6. Nick L
    Dead Vulture


    How can you have an article on El Reg about the rotary engine and not mention Wankel? For shame, Tony... Lester (Finbar) will be around to beat you in a moment

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "and 549km when it falls back on its 61l petrol tank"

    That's the biggest load of crap I've ever heard. Getting 300 miles (480 km) out of a full tank on an RX8 is remarkable. Most owners average 200-220 miles per tank. If Mazda have similarly exaggerated the hydrogen range does this mean that it's real-world range is less than 40 miles?

    Presumably the boot is replaced with a Hydrogen tank and the weight distribution screwed by the same?

    If this is Mazda's attempt to show that you can be green and still have a little fun then the result is clear - you can't!

  8. Dunstan Vavasour
    Dead Vulture


    That comment about the lightbulbs being made by Mazda - that was irony wasn't it? In this country, Mazda lightbulbs were made by British Thompson Houston.

  9. darsyx

    light bulb

    I wouldn't normally take El Reg up on a lack of fact checking, but as a (thankfully petrol only) RX-8 owner, I feel it's my duty to point out that the light bulbs branded "Mazda", where made by General Electric, and nothing to do with the Japanese car manufacturer.

    you could do with a "light bulb" / "idea!" icon, BTW...

  10. Sam

    Bad Reg!

    A golden chance to get the word wankel into an article and we get nothing!

    It's an outrage, as indeed the power difference between Petrol and it really that bad?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    well done

    you managed to write the whole article and not mention Wankel.

  12. Toastan Buttar

    Total environmental impact ?

    How much energy will it take to extract enough hydrogen gas to run these things ?

    Flames, because I wouldn't want to be anywhere need a hydrogen tank if it got fractured in a crash.

  13. Steven Hunter

    @Lack of "Wankel" comments

    Poor Carl Gruber... All his work at the "Institute of Going a Bit Red in Helsinki" for naught...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Billhooks

    > Getting 300 miles (480 km) out of a full tank on an RX8 is remarkable.

    > Most owners average 200-220 miles per tank.

    True, but did you consider the fact that this probably isn't the current production engine? The car certainly isn't the same.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's nice to see motor manufacturers trying to get away from our limited fossil fuels, but a 60 mile claimed range has a fair way to improve yet.

  16. Richard Kilpatrick


    This is hardly news, they did this back when I still owned an RX8 in 2006. Is the news that they've added another station and have therefore driven the car from one to another?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Environmental friendliness of hydrogen is questionable. The process of producing, cooling and storing liquid hydrogen isn't completely enviro friendly. Also, how long does the hydrogen remain in liquid state before it evaporates out of the RX7's tank, a week? perhaps maximum 1 month? Plus I imagine car performance would further deteriorate with the added weight of a refrigeration unit/insulation used to keep the hydrogen liquid.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Light bulbs and Mazda owners

    > Most owners average 200-220 miles per tank.

    I've been driven by an RX-8 owner - you are aware that the redline on the rev counter is a MAXIMUM not an aiming point aren't you?

    Coincidentally the car company and the light bulb are both named after the same god but that's the only link.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Once again, Reg readers reveal themselves

    to be a right bunch of Wankels

  20. golverd

    But the doors......

    At the back the doors open up the wrong way. I love this machine and it's wankeL engine, even if it runs on beer, hydro, grass or anything else. I do not care about the lesser performance, as this car with 109 HP is still quite enough to take over fast where needed. Matter of weight-HP ratio I'd assume.

    Still the back doors open up the wrong way. That really sucks.

  21. Eugene Goodrich

    Gas vs. Hydrogen laughs

    I always love to hear people hate on hydrogen _compared to gasoline_.

    It's as if gasoline's current greased production and supply chain, admittedly good in net energy direction since history and dinosaur lettuce did all the hard work, doesn't have any problems worth worrying about because so many of us have forgotten about non-carbon-dioxide pollution.

    Shipping hydrogen doesn't destroy an entire bay and the lives of its fishermen overnight. Storing and pumping it in town doesn't cause cancer in humans who drink wellwater contaminated with its "oxygenator". And paying for it doesn't prop up folk in other countries who hate you because McDonald's set up shop in their country and wrecked their values with fast food and cheap women. (Or cheap food and fast women.)

    But by all means tear apart a new dual-fuel RX-8 because producing hydrogen increases-not-decreases the energy consumption of a commute-based society.

  22. RichardSmith

    Hydrogen is not green! - Hydrogen economy is a fraud

    See "Energy Victory" by Robert Zubrin for more details, but Hydrogen is certainly not green. Hydrogen is made industrially by breaking up natural gas. The inefficiencies of the process means that you would go further (greater energy density) if you used a natural gas vehicle. Additionally you would use less fossil fuel if you drove a natural gas vehicle.

    Finally the natural gas is safer and easier to use than hydrogen. (The tiny H2 molecule is notorious for leaking out of seals and even thru solid metal. This leakage makes the H2 vehicle even less efficient as well as creating a fuel air explosive in enclosed, poorly ventilated spaces.)

    Hydrogen is less green that natural gas which certainly is not carbon neutral.

  23. Richard Kilpatrick


    I used to get 280 miles out of a full tank on my RX8 192. The six-port engines are thirstier, but I had to slow down a bit to eke it out to 300 miles.

    However, a 4-port, in a lower state of tune, especially if it's not fuelling the way production EU cars are set up (apparently the Euro IV compliant models run rich to prolong the life of the cat; didn't work, mine failed at 17K) could probably comfortably do 300 miles on a tankful.

  24. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Re: Hydrogen is not green...

    (Yawn.) Hydrogen is being promoted here as a medium for storing energy for transport. The greenness or otherwise of the process that produces the hydrogen is irrelevant to the greenness of the use of hydrogen as a storage medium. (Let's assume we've covered your country in windmills and planted a few nuclear reactors in mine.) What matters is how hydrogen actually performs in transport compared to (say) electric batteries or even synthetically produced hydrocarbons.

    In the context of reducing humanity's CO2 emissions, a universal switch from petrol to hydrogen would not solve the problem. It would, however, make the problem soluble, because we do know how to produce hydrogen without emitting CO2. As it happens, we *know* how to reduce humanity's CO2 emissions essentially to zero. (Think electrical everything, powered centrally by nukes, distributed over an enlarged electricity grid, and using things like batteries or hydrogen where you can't just stay plugged in all the time.) It's just that people prefer doom and gloom so everybody is pretending the problem is insoluble rather than starting to build the solution.

  25. Dan Paul

    @Richard Smith - Well Done!

    Mr. Smith is absolutely correct, the "Hydrogen Economy" IS a complete fraud!

    He did not mention that another way to make hydrogen is through electrolysis (breakdown salt water with electricity) but that method also makes NaOH (Lye) and Chlorine. Both materials are toxic and there is a surplus of these chemicals now that the paper industry is using less and less of them to make white paper.

    The amount of energy required to make ANY form of Hydrogen is far greater than the hydrogen will produce in any form of engine or fuel cell. The amount of energy required to cool, pressurize and store Hydrogen exceeds 100's of times the amount that the hydrogen could produce by being burned in a combustion engine or fuel cell.

    Millionaire T Boone Pickens is correct when he says that natural gas is the easiest way to take the world off "fossil" fuels and NG is very clean burning when the engine is properly tuned AND the technology can be applied to any existing auto. Methane or natural gas, in addition to drilled wells can also be "catalytically cracked" from Coal and Tar Sands, and this process can also be used to clean up the stack emissions from existing oil refineries and make NG in the process. Methane can also be cracked from various types of alcohols so it can be a bit greener if need be.

    Unfortunately since Methane is CH4, you WILL create one CO2 molecule for every two H2O molecules, but since there are typically no long chain hydrocarbons (like gasoline) that produce uneven combustion, the exhaust will not have much odor and there will be no soot.

    The real breakthrough in electric vehicles will come from lightweight fuel cell technology to make electricity directly from cellulosic bio-alcohol and have batteries only for when you are out of alcohol and need to get to the next fueling station.

    El Reg had an article a few days ago about DARPA looking for vendors to supply such technology to power portable military gear.

    Let's spend $750 BILLION on that technology instead of blowing it on the financial "industry" (Read Parasites) and see what that does to OPEC!

    Flame Icon for Combustion!!!

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hydrogen is Grossly Inefficient

    It's all been said before, but the use of Hydrogen in an Internal Conbustion Engine (ICE) is a complete waste of money and energy.

    If the energy source is renewable or nuclear - battery electric is much, much more efficient.

    If the energy source is fossil fuel - CNG or LPG are both much more efficient. Heck, even petrol is more efficient. (Google "well-to-wheel efficiency").

    Although the point about the potential to use hydrogen only as a storage medium from renewable source to point-of-use is mostly valid, nevertheless the inefficiencies and costs involved are prohibitive. Which makes one wonder why any Government would seek to support its use. Of course, if one considers that producing hydrogen from fossil sources (how it's done now) perpetuates big oil's revenue stream, then you might get some idea of why some people, companies and agencies are pushing that wasteful and costly approach.

  27. Ed


    so what your saying is this whole hydrogen thing is a bit of a wankel

  28. TeeCee Gold badge

    CNG issue.

    You can put a compressor in your garage and fill up with CNG from your domestic gas supply.

    Hydrogen, LPG, Petrol, diesel, gasohol etc. are produced in complex industrial processes and obtained through dedicated outlets. Where they can be taxed as motor fuel.

    Now work out why CNG (one of the cleanest, simplest to implement and by *far* the cheapest* of the current options) is the poor relation of the motor fuel business.

    Rule one of any fluffy initiative embraced by Governments: It's all about the tax opportunities.

    *Think distribution infrastructure - as in, existing.

  29. Brian Meehan

    Watts or horsies?

    I am a little confused by this statement:

    Mazda said the RX-8's rotary engine delivers 80kW of power (109bhp) when running on hydrogen, or 154kW (220bhp) when running on petrol.

    Why are we talking about electricity here? It runs off the standard engine/trans setup here doesn't it? I mean that the engine doesn't act as a generator to power electric motors, or does it? Why the Watts measurements? please clarify

  30. Inspectre cluas-o


    Power = (work done)/time, so kW and bhp both qualify- it's what you do, not the way that you do it. The song was wrong.....

    1kw is equivalent to 1.34 imperial bhp.

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