With the barrage of hybrid cars announced at Frankfurt and the focus on electric drive trains, hydrogen has taken a break from the alternative-fuels limelight of late. But Mazda is bringing H2 back into focus with the launch of a new hydrogen model at this month's Tokyo auto show. The Premacy Hydrogen RE (essentially a modified Mazda5) makes use of a transversely mounted hydrogen/gasoline rotary engine similar to that in the automaker's RX8 Hydrogen RE.
Like the BMW Hydrogen 7, the Premacy Hydrogen RE burns its hydrogen in its combustion engine; unlike the BMW, it then converts this energy into electricity to power an onboard motor. According to Mazda, the Premacy Hydrogen RE has a range of about 124 miles on a full tank of hydrogen (after which, it switches to old-fashioned hydrocarbons) and will be available for lease in Japan in 2008.