The design also protects the rubber seals of the hydrogen injectors from the high temperatures of the combustion chamber that can degrade them over time. The large chamber sizes also afford the use of more than one hydrogen injector, which greatly improves engine efficiency in comparison with single injector piston-driven engines.
Not content to rest on their laurels, Mazda engineers thoroughly reworked the rotary engine, increasing output 40% over the RX-8 version to 140 hydrogen-fueled horsepower. They also fundamentally redesigned how the hybrid system is engaged during everyday driving.
To combat the poor efficiency and torque of a standard rotary engine at lower engine speeds, the Premacy RE Hybrid uses battery power to pull away from a stop. Once up to speed, the hydrogen rotary engine takes over, generating electricity to power the vehicle during normal cruising. The engine is assisted by the battery if passing or acceleration is required, and the battery is charged during braking.
This system increases the range of the Premacy by 125 miles in comparison with the older RENESIS motor. The new RE also offers the same fuel flexibility as the RX-8 version, with drivers being able to switch from hydrogen to standard fuel power with the twist of a dial.
The Mazda Premacy’s environmental awareness doesn’t begin and end in the engine bay, however. Interior plastics are derived from plants instead of petroleum. These plastics are not only ecologically advanced, but they are also safer, outperforming standard interior plastics in terms of both resistance to impact and fire safety. The seat covers in the Premacy RE are also made entirely of plant fibers.
The dedication of Mazda towards advancing the adoption of alternative fuels is impressive, in that unlike other manufacturers it is now targeting buyers in the non-premium market.
While BMW may offer a hydrogen powered version of its flagship 7-series sedan, this luxury behemoth is far outside the means of most car buyers. The practicality of offering consumers a forward-thinking, environmentally responsible choice in an affordable package with high interior volume is evident.
Perhaps other car makers will take note of Mazda’s progressive marketing decisions and begin to filter their hydrogen concepts down into the regular product lineup.