The first hydrogen-powered cars to be sold outside Japan will soon be taking to the roads of our near neighbour Norway, after an environmentally friendly deal between the government there and Mazda.
Norway's HyNor project will take delivery of 30 Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE cars next summer as part of a plan to do away with traditionally fuelled vehicles. The project's test bed is a 580km corridor from Oslo to Stavanger, a North Sea port with ferry links to Tyneside, that it dubs a 'Hydrogen Highway'.
The fleet of RX-8 vehicles, if successful, will be followed by other green forms of transport, including buses, in a drive to create a carbon-neutral, zero-emissions link between the capital and the coast.
Mazda's RX-8 will not be the only Japanese contribution to the HyNor scheme. The company is also lending its expertise in the field of alternative fuels to help the Norwegians develop their own hydrogen supply - probably an important step if the project isn't to grind to a halt on day one.