Mazda Working on Tri-Fuel Hybrid

Rotary engine will be able to run on gasoline, hydrogen and electricity.

Published: 16-Jan-2007

Mazda is working on what is in effect a tri-fuel vehicle. A Mazda5 fitted with a rotary engine which can run on hydrogen or petrol and is also linked to an electric motor is front-wheel drive, so becomes the first front-wheel drive, rotary-engined Mazda. “It’s very much in the prototype stage at the moment,” Jeremy Barnes, group manager for product communications at Mazda North American Operations, told reporters at the Detroit Motor Show.

Mazda says rotary engines are well suited to hydrogen because in conventional engines, hydrogen can cause pre-ignition due to their higher operating temperatures. Mazda currently has four dual fuel (hydrogen and petrol) vehicles running in Japan and is launching its 2008 Tribute HEV with a hybrid petrol-electric engine in the USA in the middle of this year.

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