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Nissan prototype makes electricity from ethanol

By / 5 years ago / Tech / No Comments

Nissan has unveiled a prototype electric vehicle which offers a diesel-like range and can make its own carbon-neutral electricity from ethanol.

Nissan SOFC prototype

Nissan’s prototype backs up its electric drivetrain with an ethanol-driven range extender.

Based on the e-NV200, it features the same electric motor and 24kWh electric battery with AC and DC charging from the production EV, but with a 30-litre tank for ethanol or ethanol-blended water, which extends the range to more than 360 miles.

The Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) system is a two-part process. It extracts hydrogen from ethanol and uses this to produce electricity to charge the battery. While the system produces some CO2 emissions making the hydrogen, Nissan claims this is offset by the sugarcane and corn used to produce bio-ethanol.

Field tests will begin in Brazil shortly, but SOFC technology is said to offer potential for electric vehicles in markets such as South America where bio-ethanol is produced in large amounts and available via forecourts, but where EV charging infrastructure is limited.

Ethanol-blended water is also said to be safer to handle than traditional fuels. Nissan expects to launch a production SOFC car by 2020.

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Alex Grant

Trained on Cardiff University’s renowned Postgraduate Diploma in Motor Magazine Journalism, Alex is an award-winning motoring journalist with ten years’ experience across B2B and consumer titles. A life-long car enthusiast with a fascination for new technology and future drivetrains, he joined Fleet World in April 2011, contributing across the magazine and website portfolio and editing the EV Fleet World Website.

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