Mazda Motor Corporation today announced that it has built the first Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE vehicle with Norwegian specifications, developed specifically for participation in HyNor, Norway's national hydrogen project. The first unit will take part in ceremonies marking the official opening of HyNor's hydrogen filling stations. The initial opening ceremony will be held in Oslo on May 11, 2009. The RX-8 Hydrogen RE will then undergo certification to meet local standards and will be used for maintenance staff training. Mazda plans to commence leasing of Norwegian specification RX-8 Hydrogen RE models in Norway in summer 2009.

Unlike the RX-8 Hydrogen RE currently being leased in Japan, the HyNor-specification Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE is based on the latest European-specification Mazda RX-8 with left-hand drive and a manual transmission.

The HyNor project aims to enable hydrogen vehicles to travel along a 580-kilometer stretch of highway by establishing a chain of hydrogen stations between Stavanger and Oslo in Norway. Mazda agreed to collaborate with HyNor on the project in November 2007 and began validation of the RX-8 Hydrogen RE's driving performance on Norwegian public roads in October 2008.

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History of Mazda's hydrogen vehicle development

1991 Developed first hydrogen rotary engine vehicle, HR-X 1992 Conducted test drive of golf cart equipped with fuel cell 1993 Developed second hydrogen rotary engine vehicle, HR-X2 Developed MX-5 test vehicle equipped with hydrogen rotary engine 1995 Conducted Japan's first public road tests of a hydrogen rotary engine vehicle, Capella Cargo 1997 Developed Demio FC-EV 2001 Developed Premacy FC-EV, conducted first public road test in Japan 2003 Announced RX-8 Hydrogen RE prototype 2004 Received MLIT approval for public road testing of RX-8 Hydrogen RE 2006 Started commercial leasing of RX-8 Hydrogen RE in Japan (eight models have been delivered to date) 2007 Signed agreement to provide RX-8 Hydrogen REs to Hynor, a Norwegian national project 2008 Commenced public road tests in Norway with RX-8 Hydrogen RE validation vehicle 2009 Commenced commercial leasing of Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid in Japan Produced the first Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE with Norwegian specifications