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Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Nissan X-Trail FCV
Image: courtesy Nissan Media Europe

1.3 Million Euros Of Nissan Prototype On The Race Track

Nissan recorded a fast lap around Germany's famous Nurburgring race circuit in a prototype X-Trail FCV hydrogen fuel cell car last month. Nissan has valued the X-Trail FCV at 1.3 million Euros because of its prototype fuel cell components and drive system. The X-Trail FCV recorded a lap time of 11 minutes 58 seconds around Nurburgring during wet conditions. This will obviously be a zero emissions record that Mercedes-Benz and BMW will want to contest. In fact, in the not so distant future it could be the Formula 1 cars that are making the fastest zero emissions laps of grand prix circuits.

Using stock road tires on the X-Trail FCV, Frank Eickholt, a member of Nissan's 24 Hours Nurburgring race team, drove the prototype on laps of the circuit during wet track conditions. Eickholt said "If the course hadn't been so wet, I could have gotten more momentum out of the curves. Thirty to forty seconds could have been shaved off for sure."

The beauty of Nissan's X-Trail FCV is that the interior cabin is almost silent as the power to the driving wheels is from an electric motor that is fed from a hydrogen fuel cell. The hydrogen tank is pressurized at 700 bar and the hydrogen is converted into electricity in a chemical reaction in the fuel cell stack creating output emissions of just water vapour.

The X-Trail FCV has a top speed of 150 km/h (93.8 mph) and a range of 500 km (313 miles). The electric drive motor is rated at 90 kW with a maximum torque of 280 Nm. Nissan's FCV incorporates a lithium ion battery pack to capture energy in braking (regenerative braking) and to supplement the motor with additional surge power for acceleration and starting from a standing stop.

The X-Trail FCV has undergone 'real world' testing on the roads in California and Japan since 2006, and Nissan has been testing and developing the durability of the fuel cell components. The X-Trail FCV is part of Nissan's 2010 Green Program, by which time they have announced that they will start selling a zero emissions electric car. Nissan also expects to start selling a fuel cell vehicle in volume production for a release date before 2015.

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