Thursday, November 12, 2009

MPG Luncheon - Mazda USA - Hydrogen powered H2 RX-8

Mazda Hydrogen powered H2 RX-8 pictured here in the front of the Proud Bird Restaurant with some high-flyers of an era gone by, the Supermarine Spitfire, a British single-seat World War II fighter aircraft, and further back, a Douglas SBD Dauntless which was a naval dive bomber made by Douglas also during WW II. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2009)

MPG Luncheon - Mazda USA - Hydrogen powered H2 RX-8

Robert T. Davis, Senior Vice President, Product Development and Quality for Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) presented a detailed technical summary of Mazda’s plan to improve the average fuel economy of Mazda vehicles sold globally by 30 percent by 2015, under the company’s long-term vision for technology development, “Sustainable Zoom-Zoom”.

Previewed was the Mazda Hydrogen powered H2 RX-8.

One of the more useful understandings to come out of the presentation was the answer to the question ... Why Rotary? As it turns out, the heat build-up in the combustion chamber of a standard internal combustion engine (due to the very nature of the "stationary" defined space of each cylinder) is not an issue with the movement of the combustible and compressed air and fuel mixture action of the Rotary engine functionality.

After the presentation, one of the members, Merkel Weiss - Accident Re-constructionist with Stephen Blewett & Assocs. expressed extreme disappointment in the stated advancements and efficiencies put forth by Mazda. He said that 1) There was really nothing new, and 2) He believed that Mazda was just scrubbing down old platforms to make them more efficient and could have pursued this effort years ago, in that, they were stating from a reputation of being one of the least efficient (in terms of gas mileage and pollution) of auto manufacturers.

In aggregate, the fact that Mazda has set a course to embrace what they term as "Sustainable Zoom-Zoom" upon which a long-term course was charted, Mazda and its design, engineering, and marketing departments would create automobile technology that would excite, look inviting to drive, fun to drive enough to want to drive them again, and all of this with the overlay of being improved in terms of a sustainable future for cars, people, and the Earth.

As Mazda's Robert Davis put it in the presentation (to paraphrase), "We are not just bringing our philosophy of a green strategy of automobile manufacturing and function to just one nameplate or platform, we are growing a brand identification."

Mazda's Robert T. Davis, Senior Vice President, Product Development and Quality for Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) standing photo right, engaged in a conversation with E. Reeves Callaway, Founder, Callaway Cars West (center) and an unknown MPG Luncheon attendee photo left. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (2009)

At the luncheon, I met E. Reeves Callaway, the founder of those Callaway Corvettes that run in the 24 hours of Le Mans and have street versions for sale. Reeves got in a conversation with the chief engineer for Mazda's Hydrogen powered H2 RX-8, Tod Kaneko, about putting the rotary engine into a Callaway for a run at Le Mans. Reeves said he had contractual problems with placing a different engine in the modified Corvette platform, so Tod, the engineer, said ... "Why not a whole Mazda, why not a whole Callaway Mazda?" Reeves then said, "Wow, that is a thought ... and we are not even drinking." I chimed in with, "Well, we can give it the working name of the 'CM - Le Mans' ... and if we were drinking I think you all would be doing mark-ups for the Callaway Mazda on cocktail napkins right about now."

... notes from The EDJE

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