On Jun 14, Nissan Motor Co. Vice President, Hideyuki Sakamoto, who is in charge of R&D, explained about a new type of fuel cell vehicle (FCV) technology that uses bio ethanol as a fuel source at the companyâ€™s headquarters in Yokohama.
At the announcement, Mr. Sakamoto stated, in terms of FCVs that utilize hydrogen as a fuel source such as Toyota vehicles, that â€œwith the high cost of hydrogen, coming up with a hydrogen-powered FCV will prove difficult at present,â€ thus indicating the companyâ€™s intention to halt investments into the technology. Until present, Nissan had stated their plans to put out an FCV around 2017.
The FCV newly announced on June 14 utilizes a mechanism that allows for ethanol to be converted to hydrogen by way of a reformer inside of the vehicle, which will work to power the vehicle by way of a fuel cell. Points in this systemâ€™s favor are that the system itself was achieved inexpensively and that in places such as South America, an ethanol distribution infrastructure is already in place. Mr. Sakamoto stated that this type of FCV was planned to be made commercially available in 2020. Mr. Sakamoto also indicated that further investment into the hydrogen-based system the company had pursued up until now â€œmay be put on the back burner.â€
On the other hand, research and development into the hydrogen-based FCVs being conducted in conjunction with Daimler of Germany and Ford of the US â€œwill continueâ€ so that â€œthese vehicles will be at a point when they can be put into production at any time.â€
[Translated by Bryce Clarke]