Nissan goes electric with ethanol minivan

  • Cruising range of 600km possible with bio-ethanol
  • Fitting that Brazil built the first pure-ethanol car
  • Announcement rides on back of the Olympics
NISSAN GOES BIO: Image: Nissan Motor/Newspress
NISSAN GOES BIO: The e-Bio Fuel-Cell looks just like an ordinary minivan but underneath is a very different propulsion system.  Image: Nissan Motor/Newspress

YOKOHAMA, Japan – Nissan is using the current focus on Brazil for the 2016 Olympic Games to unveil what is claimed to be the world’s first solid oxide fuel-cell vehicle.

It runs on bio-ethanol to produce electric power to charge a 24kWh battery which, in combination, can keep the van moving for 600km. Fittingly, Fiat Brazil produced the first pure-ethanol car back in 1978 and its normal petrol is laced with 10% ethanol.

NISSAN GOES BIO: Image: Nissan Motor/Newspress
NISSAN GOES BIO: The e-Bio Fuel-Cell car is a cute little city commuter but will it be “burning” fuel whose production might cause food shortages? Image: Nissan Motor/Newspress

It’s the e-Bio Fuel-Cell car.

Wow! And now you’ve picked yourself up off the floor we can tell you that what is described as “a breakthrough model” is an all-new light commercial that can use a variety of fuels, among them ethanol and natural gas, to generate electricity for its electric drive.

Carlos Ghosn, Nissan’s president and CEO, told The Corner through a media release: “The e-Bio Fuel-Cell (that, we guess, is its badge) is eco-friendly transport that will create opportunities for regional energy production while supporting the existing infrastructure.

See also ‘Game’s on! Ride the BladeGlider in Rio

“It will become even more user-friendly and ethanol-blended water is easier and safer to handle than most other fuels. It has great potential to drive market growth without new infrastructure and has great potential to drive market growth.”

READ more on Nissan and ethanol on Carman’s Corner

The fuel-cell prototype, Nissan explains, is part of the brand’s ongoing commitment to further developing zero-emission vehicles and automotive technology such as autonomous drive and connectivity. The company already has the world’s best-selling zero exhaust emissions car, the Leaf, and claims to be pioneering “intelligent” mobility systems for a variety of vehicles.

NISSAN GOES BIO: Image: Nissan Motor/Newspress
TECHNICIANS OR CHEFS?  Mechanics in white jackets! Shows how clean the ethanol/electric concept must be.  Image: Nissan Motor/Newspress

Bio-ethanol comes mainly from sugar cane and corn and is widely available in the Americas. Due to the easy availability of ethanol and low combustibility of ethanol-blended water, Nissan says, future people might be able to buy it at the corner shop or supermarket.

(The Corner reckons governments will still tax the heck out of it!)

Nissan adds: “We will continue to provide value to customers by using systems that enable electric power generation from various fuels while addressing infrastructure issues tied to energy supply in every region of the world.”

Worthy stuff indeed!

NISSAN GOES BIO: Image: Nissan Motor/Newspress
NISSAN GOES BIO: Not only is the propulsion system radical but so is the instrument panel. Image: Nissan Motor/Newspress
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