Mazda Developing Range Extended Microvan
The Mazda5 is colloquially termed a microvan. It offers the functionality of a minivan including a fold down third row of seats on the same sized platform as a sedan.
Though not highly popular, the idea makes sense for families of five or six who want to travel together, carry cargo and still be fuel efficient.
It is highly logical to electrify this platform though how many will sell is anyone’s guess.
A report from Japan has surfaced indicating Mazda is developing a range-extender drivetrain for this vehicle. Only instead of using a gasoline range extender, they are choosing to do it with hydrogen. The company will be using its already demonstrated hydrogen-fueled rotary engine technology as the electric range extender and will begin leasing the vehicles in Japan next year.
No word whether a version will be available in the US.
Obviously using hydrogen as a fuel source in the US has its limitations both in availability and questionable efficiency advantages over gas. However, if its role is as a rarely used generator/extender the value proposition increases. Still, using gas for range extension makes better sense in the US.
Source: (Green Car Congress)