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Old 10-06-2007, 01:00 PM
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Arrow Mazda Introduces Hydrogen Hybrid, Wind-Inspired Concept

Mazda unveils hydrogen hybrid

The vehicle is powered by energy produced when hydrogen combines with oxygen in the air to emit only clean water. A conventional rotary engine runs on gasoline, but the one in the new hybrid runs on hydrogen stored in a tank, although it can switch to gas when hydrogen runs out. Like other global automakers, Mazda, an affiliate of Ford Motor, has been working on hydrogen vehicles.

Mazda officials said the latest hydrogen hybrid is an improvement over its previous hydrogen vehicle, leased since 2006, extending its run on a full tank of hydrogen from 100 to 200 kilometres. The company said it had no plans to lease the car outside Japan. The new vehicle also has a lithium-ion battery that drives the motor and recharges itself using energy from braking, further conserving on electricity.

The leasing fee will be similar to the predecessor at about 400,000 yen ($3,500) a month, according to Mazda, and so it??s aimed at the government and ecological organisations. At its research facility in Yokohama, Mazda also showed a ???concept car??, or show model, called Taiki, inspired by flowing wind. Laurens van den Acker, general manager of design, said the sportscar highlights the Hiroshima-based automaker??s innovation in design.

Its curvaceous surface creased with swooping lines, the slinky car looked like a metal stingray. Its shape developed from studies of sheer fabric fluttering in the wind, and its interior was based on ???koinobori??, or carp-shaped decorations of cloth that Japanese put up to sway in the wind to celebrate Children's Day, a national holiday, said chief designer Atsuhiko Yamada.

???Air is a very important substance, but it is invisible,??? he said in explaining the design challenges. Mazda has been marking growing sales at a time when some automakers, including Ford Motor, has been struggling to make a turnaround amid faltering sales and cost cutting.

Mazda??s global sales for the current fiscal year are expected to be up four per cent to a record high 1.35 million vehicles, surpassing the company's previous record set in 1990, as it boosts vehicle sales in North America and Europe, offsetting flat sales in Japan.

Source: [url=http://www.forbesautos.com/news/headlines/2007/october/ap100307-mazda-hydrogen-rotary.html]ForbesAutos[/url]
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