Nissan fuel-cell car that runs on Bio-ethanol hit the road this week

Earlier this year, Nissan announced they were working on a prototype of a car which runs of fuel-cells powered by bio-ethanol. The concept takes away the bulky hydrogen tank which typically powers fuel-cell cars, and promises a driving range of 400 miles.

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Nissan has said it will be cheaper than any other future electric cars that drive similar distances. The Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) system will be good for use in countries where petroleum is less readily available. Nissan says this is the first time SOFC system has been used in an automobile.

The prototype car which hit the road in Brazil is a modified NV200 commercial van with a 7.9-gallon fuel tank. Similar to their other electric cars like the Leaf (pictured), Nissan also announced the car can also run on ethanol and natural gasses. It takes hydrogen produced when using the fuel and mixes with other chemicals to produce electricity, powering a 24kWh battery that drives an electric motor.

Other car makers like Hyundai and Toyota have already put fuel-cell cars into production. Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan, said: “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.”

However, Elon Musk, head of Tesla Motors believe that solar-generated electricity is more sustainable and efficient for powering electric cars.

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Photo by: Tennen-Gas