Although there is a general consensus that the future of mobility belongs to electric vehicles, it does not stop automakers from experimenting with different technologies. Now Nissan unveiled its Solid Oxide Fuel-Cell (SOFC)-powered car. This e-NV200-based vehicle is the world‘s first car to run on bio-ethanol electric power. We have talked about this system earlier this year, but now it is already driving on the roads of Brazil.
The idea behind is simple. SOFC-powered transportation supports already existing infrastructure, while providing opportunities for local energy production. Not to mention green credentials of the car, as this prototype is yet another example of Nissan’s commitment to develop new technologies for zero-emission vehicles. In this car 100% ethanol is used to charge car’s batteries that later present 600km range. In other words, e-Bio Fuel-Cell technology offers electric car advantages without any disadvantages, because needed infrastructure is already developed.
Bio-ethanol is manufactured from sugarcane and corn, which means that cars like this new prototype from Nissan open doors for regional fuel production, which, among economic benefits, also contributes to sustainable future. Furthermore, SOFC-powered car would be easy to introduce into the market, as people are familiar with the fuel and with existing infrastructure.
This prototype is already being tested, but it will still change before entering the market. However, current specifications are promising. This e-NV200-based vehicle has a 24kWh battery pack, which, fully charged, provides more than 600km. range. It is charged by the Solid Oxide Fuel-Cell, which outputs 5kW of power through reaction, when ethanol or ethanol-blended water from 30 liters tank reacts with oxygen from the atmosphere. All of this adds up to an electric car you can fill up in a local gas station – it is silent, features brisk acceleration, yet no range anxiety.
This prototype reminds of Toyota’s hydrogen-powered cars, but is much more down to Earth. It is much more real and easier to introduce. However, price is going to remain a deciding point and we will have to wait for the data on that.