X-Trail sets hyrdrogen standard
Nissan has become the first car company to record a lap time for a fuel cell vehicle at the famous NÌ_rburgring Nordschleife racing circuit in Germany
Frank Eickholt, a member of the Nissan 24 Hours NÌ_rburgring race team and Nordschleife expert, steered the 1.3 million euro Nissan X-Trail FCV prototype through ‘The Green Hell’ – as the course is often referred to – on standard street tyres.
And although the 20.8 kilometre-long (12.9 mile) course was consistently wet Eickholt was thoroughly impressed with the X-Trail FCV which clocked in at 11:58 minutes.
‘I was very surprised at just how comfortable it is to drive a fuel cell car. You get in, turn the key and off you go, just like with a normal car,’ said Eickholt.
‘Although some of the uphill sections were challenging, the speed was still very impressive. If the course hadn’t been so wet, I could have gotten more momentum out of the curves. Thirty to 40 seconds could have been shaved off for sure,’ he added.
The five-seater X-Trail FCV is a zero-emission electric vehicle that runs in near silence. It is powered by electricity produced on board the vehicle, in a hydrogen fuel cell stack.
Electricity is generated following an electro-chemical reaction between hydrogen – which is stored at 700 bar in a purpose-designed high-pressure tank – and oxygen. The only by-product is water vapour.
This electric current is channeled through an inverter to drive a motor in the front of the car.
The X-Trail FCV, which has been undergoing real-world trials in Japan and California since 2006, has an official top speed of 150km/h and a range of 500km. Maximum power is said to be around 120bhp.
Still in the early stages of development, Nissan is currently working to improve durability of the FCV componentry; to find a breakthrough in hydrogen storage systems; and to reduce the cost of the technology. The company hopes to see fuel cell vehicles in series production by 2015.
The X-Trail FCV is part of the Nissan Green Program 2010, Nissan‘s midterm environmental strategy which is aimed at reducing CO2 emissions from the company’s products and activities around the world, as well as reducing other exhaust emissions and increasing recycling.