Nissan has developed a brand new prototype model which no longer relies on petrol or batteries but rather runs on biofuel.
The unique experimental model was launched in Brazil today.
In their statement, the company commented that their idea is to help people who have better access to corn or sugar cane. Petroleum is usually tough to acquire in these regions where the Solid Oxide Fuel Cell invented by Nissan will play a crucial role in transportation. The idea is not totally new as auto brands including Honda, Toyota and Hyundai are experimenting it with their Clarity, Mirai and Tucson cars respectively.
The biggest change is that instead of platinum catalysts to convert hydrogen and air into electricity, Nissan uses ceramic materials. They are inexpensive, easy to integrate and will allow people to actually buy SOFC powered automobiles. It would be a cost and an energy efficient option for those living in specific countries where natural resources are plenty.
These cars will emit carbon and carbon mixed content which is strictly regulated in countries like USA and Europe. However, the situation is entirely different in third world countries where carbon rich reformation byproducts are usually monitored at low levels. Nissan is also working on ways to reduce carbon dioxide emission. It may take some time before the biofuel powered cars are perfectly clean to find their way into Europe where emission regulations are of high standards. It is one important reason that allowed an electric car maker like Tesla to succeed as EVs have no emission issues and are completely green.
The first prototype version from Nissan was unveiled in Brazil. The e-NV200 lightweight commercial van has a huge 7.9 gallon fuel tank. It uses SOFC 5 kW fuel technology but is also equipped with a 24 kWh battery connected to an electric motor. With such a unique setup, the van has an amazing mile range. It can go up to 375 miles when both different powertrains render their combined power.
Some unique aspects of the NV200 and the Nissan NV100 Leaf is that they are both cost efficient, has good acceleration, low speed response and uses silent propulsion system. Nissan opines that Brazil has lot of natural Ethanol content to share which syncs with their biofuel program. It has prompted the company to launch the van in the country first before they identify more potential regions to launch the NV100 model.