Nissan, to Unveil Innovative Fuel-cell Technology in 2010

By: Shane Morgay


Nissan Motor Co. earlier announced that early next decade it will be introducing fuel-cell technology for the vehicles in Japan and North America. This new venture by the automaker is part of its midterm environmental strategy dubbed as "Nissan Green Program 2010."

Toshiyuki Shiga, Nissan chief operating officer said that the company will introduce gasoline engine technologies that will enhance fuel economy and at the same time reduce carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to diesel engine levels. These car technologies will be introduced to the automotive market starting from the fiscal year 2010.

Nissan will also unveil new fuel-cell vehicle with sophisticated fuel stack. Said vehicle will be produced in-house after 2010. Shiga divulged that this new vehicle is aimed at showcasing performance on par with gasoline-power automobiles.

A fuel cell is an electrochemical energy conversion device. It differs from batteries in the sense that the latter are intended for incessant replenishment of the reactants consumed. Further, fuel cells generate electricity from an external supply of fuel and oxidant unlike batteries which have limited internal energy storage capacity. Additionally, fuel cell automobiles run on the power generated when oxygen in the air mixes with hydrogen in the fuel tank. Moreover, the technology produces water vapor, which is not harmful to the environment.

Shiga added that the company intends to concentrate on the internal combustion engine as Nissan's primary power source. The automaker also intends to improve engine efficiency to blend well with . In addition, Mitsuhiko Yamashita, Nissan's executive vice president for research and development said, "To develop vehicles that are truly environmentally friendly, we need to make significant advances in internal combustion technology while working on electrical power sources in parallel."

Shiga further noted that Nissan intends to develop a "three-liter car," which can travel 100 kilometers or 60 miles using 3 liters or about 3 quarts of gasoline. This car is expected to be introduced to the auto industry in 2010.

Carlos Tavarez, Nissan's executive vice president for product planning and corporate strategy said, "If you have to compensate for the cost of new technologies, you'll find that (gasoline) is very high performance for small cars in terms of balancing the costs for the customer in terms of fuel efficiency. You get high performance and low mileage."

The automaker will also unleash a 100% bioethanol fuel-ready vehicle intended for the Brazilian market by 2009. It will also introduce an electric vehicle starting in Japan early next decade.

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