In Brazil, Nissan Motor revealed the first Solid Oxide Fuel-Cell (SOFC)-powered prototype vehicle that runs on bio-ethanol electric power. Research and development of the e-Bio Fuel-Cell was announced by Nissan in June in Yokohama. (Earlier post.)
The e-Bio Fuel-Cell prototype vehicle, based on a Nissan e-NV200 electric van (earlier post), is equipped with a 5 kW SOFC that runs on 100% ethanol to charge a 24 kWh battery that enables a cruising range of more than 600 km (373 miles). Nissan will conduct further field tests on public roads in Brazil using the prototype.
The e-Bio Fuel-Cell offers the brisk acceleration and silent driving of an EV, along with its low-running costs, while boasting the driving range of a gasoline-engine vehicle.
The e-Bio Fuel-Cell offers eco-friendly transportation and creates opportunities for regional energy production…all the while supporting the existing infrastructure. 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.—Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn
The fuel cell prototype forms part of Nissan’s ongoing commitment to the development of zero-emission vehicles. Nissan already sells the world’s highest-volume zero-emission car, the LEAF, and is pioneering Intelligent Mobility systems that will be deployed in a range of vehicles over coming years.
Bio-ethanol fuels currently are mainly sourced from sugarcane and corn. These fuels are widely available in countries in North and South America, which feature widely established infrastructure.
Due to the easy availability of ethanol and low combustibility of ethanol-blended water, the system is not heavily dependent or restricted by the existing charging infrastructure, making it easy to introduce to the market. In the future, people may only need to stop by small retail stores to buy fuel off the shelf.