Norwegian’s would naturally be a part of the worldwide effort to make hydrogen cars a reality, being that they have already taken steps with current projects towards this commitment. As part of Norway’s HyNor Project, which is building a 350-mile hydrogen highway system between Oslo and Stavanger, the Norwegians have invited Mazda to the grand opening of their first hydrogen fueling station.
On August 22, 2006 the first hydrogen fueling station in Norway will be opened in Stavanger and Mazda will be showing its RX-8 Renesis hydrogen car complete with dual-fuel rotary engine (hydrogen-gasoline). This will be Mazda’s first showing of the hydrogen car outside of Japan where similar models are currently involved in two separate lease agreements.
According to Brage W. Johansen, Manager of Hydrogen Group 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.”
There has been much speculation about when the Mazda RX-8 Renesis will be available for consumer sales, and some sources site the vehicle may be ready as early as 2008. Hydrogen dual-fuel vehicles such as the Renesis have the luxury of running on gasoline or hydrogen as it is available (and as the infrastructure is being built) and at the same time offering a quality driving experience. Look for more dual fuel models to roll out during the transitional period of gasoline to hydrogen.