Nissan shows off new solid oxide fuel cell vehicle in Brazil

August 17, 2016 0 By Alicia Moore

Olympics gives Nissan an opportunity to show off its new clean vehicle

The 2016 Olympic Games are in full swing in Brazil and Japanese automaker Nissan has taken the chance to show off its first solid oxide fuel cell vehicle. The new car is powered entirely by ethanol and an ethanol-water blend. The solid oxide fuel cell consumes ethanol in order to generate hydrogen, which is then used to produce electricity. According to Nissan, the vehicle is so efficient it can travel nearly 400 miles before needing to be refueled. If accurate, this would make the new vehicle much more efficient than conventional battery electric vehicles.

New vehicle will make use of bio-ethanol

Nissan has shown interest in fuel cell technology for some time. The company has been heavily invested in battery technology, however, showing only cautious support for fuel cells in the past. Nissan believes that fuel cells hold promise, but they still lack the infrastructure needed to become successful. They are also notoriously expensive, making them somewhat unattractive to consumers. Nissan has opted to use a solid oxide fuel cell, an energy system that has long shown itself to be capable of generating high quantities of electricity in an efficient and relatively inexpensive manner.

Brazil has abundant access to ethanol due to sugar cane harvesting

Fuel Cell Vehicles - Rio 2016 Olympic GamesBio-ethanol has become very common in Brazil, where growing sugar cane for the purpose of making this fuel has been a popular practice for years. This fuel is primarily derived from sugar cane and corn. In countries where growing sugar cane is quite popular, bio-ethanol is also plentiful. Easy access to ethanol could hold great promise for fuel cell vehicles. While most fuel cell vehicles are heavily reliant on hydrogen fuel, some, such as the one developed by Nissan, can use ethanol as a potential energy source.

Automakers continue to show strong interest in fuel cell technology

Nissan is just one of the major automakers to develop a fuel cell vehicle. Other automakers have been quick to bring such vehicles to the commercial market. While these vehicles are still in limited supply, those that have launched fuel cell vehicles have found that demand among consumers has been higher than expected. Nissan is still cautious about the potential of fuel cell vehicles and is expected to continue showing modest support for fuel cell vehicles in the coming years.