Nissan has unveiled its prototype e-NV200 van, equipped with a SOFC (Solid-Oxide Fuel Cell) range-extender in Rio de Janeiro.

A 5 kW SOFC, and a 30 liter tank for bio-ethanol, extends the range of the vehicle up to 600 km (373 miles).

Nissan first announced developments of ethanol fuel cells about month ago, and Brazil would seem to be the ideal market for tests of SOFC.

Whether SOFC equipped plug-ins will be the answer to introducing zero-emission in South America remains a looming question. Nissan said that it intends to deploy "a range of vehicles over coming years".

"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.

In this latest zero-emission development, the e-Bio Fuel-Cell prototype vehicle runs on 100-percent ethanol to charge a 24kWh battery that enables a cruising range of more than 600km. Nissan will conduct further field tests on public roads in Brazil using the prototype.

Research and development of the e-Bio Fuel-Cell was announced by Nissan in June in Yokohama. The powertrain is clean, highly efficient, easy to supply, and it runs on 100-percent ethanol or ethanol-blended water. Its carbon-neutral emissions are as clean as the atmosphere, which will be the part of natural carbon cycle. Also, 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.

Bio-ethanol fuels 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.

Nissan e-NV200 with SOFC (Solid-Oxide Fuel Cell)

Nissan e-NV200 with SOFC (Solid-Oxide Fuel Cell)

Nissan e-NV200 with SOFC (Solid-Oxide Fuel Cell)

Nissan e-NV200 with SOFC (Solid-Oxide Fuel Cell)

In pursuit of realizing a zero-emission and zero-fatality society for cars, Nissan continues to promote vehicle intelligence and electrification. Nissan's brand promise of "Innovation That Excites" is delivered with "Nissan Intelligent Mobility," which focuses on how cars are powered, driven and integrated into society through a more enjoyable driving experience.

The e-Bio Fuel-Cell will realize the concept of "Nissan Intelligent Power," promoting greater efficiency and electrification of cars and the joys of driving alongside battery EVs, such as the Nissan LEAF, Nissan e-NV200, and e-Power, which is equipped with an engine housing an exclusive large-capacity motor and power generator.

Nissan will continue to provide value to its customers by incorporating systems that enable the extraction of electric power from various fuels, while addressing the infrastructure issues tied to energy supply in every region of the world.

Nissan e-NV200 with SOFC (Solid-Oxide Fuel Cell)

Nissan e-NV200 with SOFC (Solid-Oxide Fuel Cell)

Solid-Oxide Fuel Cell vehicle Specifications

  • Base Vehicle: e-NV200
  • Battery Capacity: 24kWh
  • Energy Source: Electricity, Ethanol
  • Tank Capacity: 30L
  • SOFC Output: 5kW
  • Driving Range: 600km-plus

*Due to being a prototype vehicle, specifications are subject to change."

Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn said:

“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.”