Nissan Motor Co. revealed a revolutionary new prototype vehicle this week — the world’s first Solid Oxide Fuel-Cell (SOFC)-powered prototype vehicle. The car runs on bio-ethanol electric power and can rely on multiple fuels in order to produce high-efficiency electricity, including ethanol and natural gas. Ideally, however, the car would run on renewable fuels sourced from corn or sugar cane.
In a press release, Carlos Ghosn, president and chief executive officer, explained, “The e-Bio Fuel-Cell offers eco-friendly transportation and creates opportunities for regional energy production, all 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.”
This new fuel cell is only the latest effort from Nissan to develop completely emission-free vehicles and innovative new automotive technologies. The company already sells the completely electric LEAF, which retails at a far lower cost than competitor Tesla Motors. Because traditional electric cars still rely on power from the grid, which often comes from coal-fired power plants, they’re often not as green as environmentally minded consumers might like. The new e-Bio Fuel Cell promises a better, more sustainable option for those interested in a potential green upgrade.
The prototype vehicle runs on 100 percent ethanol, which charges a 24kWh battery, allowing the car to travel up to 600 kilometers (372 miles). However, before it will be made available on the market the company plans to do further road testing in Brazil.