October 16, 2008 Mazda has announced that its RX-8 Hydrogen RE (Rotary Engine) vehicle will undergo assessment in Norway, the first time the car has graced public roads outside Japan. The joint project between Mazda and the Hydrogen Road of Norway (HyNor) project will use a single vehicle to assess the RE’s driving performance as well as promoting the technology through appearances at public events.
Mazda signed a memorandum of understanding with HyNor to participate in the project in November 2007 which will expand to the commercial lease of 30 RX-8 Hydrogen RE vehicles from 2009.
“Up to now, real world use of Mazda’s hydrogen rotary vehicles has been limited to Japan. Participation in the HyNor project marks our advancement to the next stage,” says Akihiro Kashiwagi, Mazda Program Manager in charge of hydrogen RE development. “After we validate the first vehicle on Norwegian roads, we intend to deliver 30 more units under commercial lease contracts. We are pleased to be a part of the establishment of a society based on hydrogen energy in Norway. Mazda plans to use the wealth of data and experience that will result from this project for the further development of hydrogen vehicles.”
Development of the hydrogen RE started in 1991 and the RX-8 Hydrogen RE became the world's first hydrogen RE vehicle to be commercially leased in February 2006.
HyNor is a national project that aims to establish a clean energy transport system based on hydrogen fuel. The focus of this project is to demonstrate the implementation of a hydrogen re-fueling infrastructure along a 580 km route from Oslo to Stavanger.