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Japanese automaker unveils solid oxide-powered vehicle prototype in Rio


Nissan has developed and unveiled to the world the first solid-oxide fuel cell  electric (SOFC) vehicle.

The Brazil PR launch revealed a vehicle that uses 100% ethanol or natural gas in a fuel cell to create electricity and propel the car. Used in a light commercial vehicle such as the e-NV200, previously a plug-in electric vehicle only sold in Europe, the published specifications include a 24kWh battery capacity.


The prototype claims a range of 600km, on par with conventional internal combustion. The SOFC has a 30-litre tank for ethanol, which is is made from sugarcane or corn, or compressed natural gas (CNG), drawn from gas wells or a by-product of crude oil extraction but producing less CO2 than petrol/diesel, containing mostly methane.

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Solid-oxide fuel cells don’t require the use of expensive precious metals, corrosive acids or hard-to-contain molten material as with ‘traditional’ fuel cells, although the next generation Hyundai ix35 hydrogen fuel cell vehicle promises a far more efficient fuel cell requiring less materials with higher efficiency. SOFCs operate at extremely high temperatures typically above 800 degrees celcius, which makes them highly conducting of electricity and efficient in fuel use.

Nissan is conducting further testing of the technology in Brazil.

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