Mazda retires rotary engine in favor of hydrogen fuel cellsJuly 5, 2012
Automaker sets sights on hydrogen fuel cells for the future
Famed Japanese automaker Mazda has announced that it is retiring its acclaimed rotary engine. The rotary engine rose to fame in the 1970’s as a powerful alternative to the piston engines that are still popular today. Though Mazda’s rotary era is coming to an end, the automaker believes that it is a sign of the future for the auto industry. As the rotary engine goes into retirement, Mazda has set its sights on hydrogen fuel cells, hoping that they will be the energy system that propels the company’s future vehicles.
Fuel cells continue to gain popularity in the auto industry
Hydrogen fuel cells have been growing in popularity in the auto industry. Most major automakers have opted to make use of hydrogen fuel cells due to their high energy production the fact that they do not emit any greenhouse gases. The latter feature allows automakers to comply with the strict emissions standards coming from the world’s governments. Mazda, as well as other automakers, believe that hydrogen fuel cells are the future of transportation.
Mazda to continue testing hydrogen-powered vehicles while testing new technologies
Mazda currently has 8 of its hydrogen-powered vehicles leased to government organizations in Japan. The company has been testing the capabilities of these vehicles to determine whether they would be viable for commercial production and deployment. Mazda is also testing out a new technology it is calling “SkyActiv.” This technology is based on diesel and gasoline engines and is meant to cut down on fuel consumption. Theoretically, this technology could be used with hydrogen fuel cells to improve a vehicle’s fuel economy.
Rotary engines may return, powered by hydrogen
Though the automaker’s rotary engine is going into retirement, it is unlikely that the automaker will abandon one of its most successful technologies. Mazda has announced that it has been developing an electric vehicle that uses hydrogen as a fuel to power a rotary engine. This engine generates electricity for the vehicle’s battery. The automaker believes that this vehicle could be available as soon as next year.
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