Mazda Motor Corporation will show the Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE at the ONS2006, an energy exhibition and conference held in Stavanger, Norway, starting from August 22. Mazda will utilize the opening of Norway’s first hydrogen filling station near Stavanger for the first on-road showing of the vehicle outside Japan. Mazda took a big step towards hydrogen fuel sustainability earlier this year, when it began leasing the dual-fuel, hydrogen and petrol powered rotary-engine vehicle to companies in Japan.
"The hydrogen station in Stavanger is the first step of a long and exciting journey for hydrogen, and we are very proud to have Mazda present at the opening," said Mr. Brage W. Johansen, Manager of Hydrogen Group, Statoil ASA and member of the HyNor National Board. "Hydrogen has always suffered from the classic chicken-and-egg debate: the car manufacturers wait for a fuel distribution network to be set up, and the fuel suppliers wait for cars to be produced. In the end we decided to take a risk and build the first station and as you can see, the first cars have already arrived."
The filling station is the first of several hydrogen filling stations planned by the national HyNor Project that has been established to promote hydrogen as an alternative fuel in Norway. More than 30 Norwegian partners with representatives from the public authorities, industry and commerce and the academic community are working together to build up the first infrastructure for hydrogen fuel in Norway. Their initial goal is to make it possible to drive a hydrogen-powered vehicle like the Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE between the cities of Stavanger and Oslo. The next filling station along this route will be opened in Grenland in spring 2007.
"Mazda means business when it comes to developing alternative fuel vehicles," said James Muir, President and CEO of Mazda Motor Europe. "Proof of this, is that we will be driving into a new Norwegian hydrogen filling station in a car that is not a prototype, but a model that Mazda has begun to lease to regional governmental authorities and companies in Japan. It uses both petrol and hydrogen at the flick of a switch. It’s safe and it’s fun to drive. With several countries in Europe beginning to invest in hydrogen infrastructures, Mazda’s RX-8 Hydrogen RE represents an important step towards eventual mass production."