Nissan Unveils First Solid-Oxide Fuel Cell Vehicle

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Nissan has rolled out the world’s first solid-oxide fuel cell vehicle.

The Japanese automaker is the official automotive sponsor for this year’s Olympic Games in Rio 2016, and along with contributing a fleet of cars, it debuted a fuel cell prototype that forms part of Nissan’s ongoing commitment to the development of zero-emission vehicles. Called the e-Bio Fuel-Cell, the prototype runs on 100-percent ethanol to charge a 24-kWh battery that enables a cruising range of over 373 miles. The company plans on conducting further field tests on public roads in Brazil using the prototype.

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The base vehicle is a Nissan e-NV200 and has a 30-liter tank capacity. According to Nissan, “the powertrain is clean, highly efficient, easy to supply, and it runs on 100-percent ethanol or ethanol-blended water.” Nissan chose this direction due to the easy availability of ethanol and low combustibility of ethanol-blended water, meaning the system does not heavily rely on existing charging infrastructure. As a result, a vehicle like this would be easy to introduce to the market.

“The e-Bio Fuel-Cell offers eco-friendly transportation and creates opportunities for regional energy production…all the while supporting the existing infrastructure,” said Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn. “In the future, the e-Bio Fuel-Cell will become even more user-friendly. Ethanol-blended water is easier and safer to handle than most other fuels. Without the need to create new infrastructure, it has great potential to drive market growth.”

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  • Outcast_Searcher

    I’m glad to hear this (if it proves reliable, and has the kind of range promised from only 30 litres of fuel).

    I don’t quite understand the part about the existing infrastructure though.

    It’s not like I can pull up to the pure ethanol or ethanol/water tank in any corner gas station and fill it up, now is it? And if I have to buy it from Walmart in a 5 or larger gallon drum, mix it with water (or whatever the process would be), that’s a big pain, especially in the winter.

    Is the implication that many or all gas stations will start having an ethanol or ethanol/water mix tank? If so, why don’t they say that?