Nissan is claiming to have set a new record time around the Nurburgring Nordschleife – that for a vehicle powered by a fuel cell.
The somewhat unlikely tool for setting the new time was the company’s hydrogen-powered FCV X-Trail concept. It completed its lap in 11 minutes 58 seconds, hardly scintillating by the standards set by cars including the new Nissan GT-R. But, as the first fuel cell vehicle to be timed around the ‘Ring, Nissan is claiming the record.
Driver Frank Eickholt, who is more used to piloting Nissan’s 24 hours racing cars around the infamous 13-mile course, was behind the wheel of Nissan’s £800,000 prototype.
“Although some of the uphill sections were challenging, the speed was still very impressive,” said Eickholt, “I was very surprised at just how comfortable it is to drive a fuel cell car.”
The five-seat X-Trail FCV is near-silent, powered by electricity produced on-board by a hydrogen fuel cell stack. It produces no emissions other than water.
Fuel cells generate electricity from an electro-chemical reaction that occurs between the hydrogen (which is stored in a high-pressure tank) and oxygen. Nissan’s been developing this X-Trail FCV in California and Japan since 2006.
While this latest Nurburgring test is obviously a neat publicity wheeze for Nissan, it shows the company believes in zero emissions fuel cell technology as a future alternative to conventional engines.