Mazda unveiled a new kind of hybrid vehicle, which runs on hydrogen fuel powering an electric motor.The Japanese carmaker said it will be available for leasing in Japan from next year.
The Mazda Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid, shown to the media ahead of its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month, operates on a rotary engine, which has a reputation for being quiet because it doesn't have pistons like standard engines.
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 petrol but the one in the new hybrid runs on hydrogen stored in a tank, although it can switch to petrol when hydrogen runs out.
Like other global car makers, Mazda, an affiliate of the Ford Motor Company, has been working on hydrogen vehicles.
Mazda officials said the latest hydrogen hybrid is an improvement on its previous hydrogen vehicle, leased since 2006, extending its run on a full tank of hydrogen from 100kms to 200kms.
The new car also has a lithium-ion battery that drives the motor and recharges itself using energy from braking, conserving on electricity.
At its research plant 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 sports car highlights the Hiroshima-based company's innovation in design.
Its curvaceous surface creased with swooping lines, the slinky car has the look of a metal stingray.