Nis­san X-Trail plugs away

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

TWELVE min­utes is an aw­ful time for a hot lap at Nur­bur­gring. It’s what you’d ex­pect from grandad in a Toy­ota, based on Porsche 911 and Nis­san GT-R record runs in the seven-minute bracket.

But it’s not as bad as you might think for a — wait for it — electrically pow­ered Nis­san X-Trail.

Just as Nis­san is bring­ing a diesel en­gine to Aus­tralia for its com­pact soft-roader, the tech­ni­cal chaps from HQ have been crank­ing around the Ger­man race­track in a zero-emis­sion X-Trail.

It is one of the costli­est cars — about $2 mil­lion — on the cir­cuit.

Nis­san took the hy­dro­gen­pow­ered fuel-cell ma­chine to Ger­many to show the fu­ture does not have to be bor­ing or slow.

The FCV, driven by Nur­bur­gring 24-hour class win­ner Frank Eick­holt, even man­aged to top 150km/h dur­ing the speed run.

‘‘I was sur­prised at how com­fort­able it is to drive a fuel-cell car. You get in, turn the key and off you go, just as in a nor­mal car,’’ Eick­holt says.

‘‘Though some of the up­hill sec­tions were chal­leng­ing, the speed was still very im­pres­sive. If the course hadn’t been so wet, I could have got more mo­men­tum out of the curves. Thirty to 40 sec­onds could have been shaved off,’’ he says in typ­i­cal racedriver fash­ion.

The FCV tech­nol­ogy is the best Nis­san can do for the mo­ment, with 90kW, 280Nm and a range about 500km. It has the latest bat­tery tech­nol­ogy from Ja­pan: a Nis­san- de­signed com­pact lithium-ion unit with thin lam­i­nated cells is used to start the ve­hi­cle.

Bat­tery as­sault: the electrically pow­ered Nis­san FCV was good for 150km/h at Nur­bur­gring.

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