Nissan Motor Co., Ltd, has received approval from Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport to begin public road testing and leasing of its latest high-pressure, hydrogen-powered X-TRAIL fuel cell vehicle (FCV).

The latest sport utility FCV is powered by a Nissan-developed fuel cell stack that is about 60% smaller compared with the previous stack on the 2003 FCV model. Despite its compact size, the new stack has a power generation capacity of 90kW, an improvement of more than 40% compared with the 2003 stack, giving the all-new FCV a top speed of 150 km/h. The 2003 model has a top speed of 145 km/h.

The FCV is also equipped with a compact, 35MPa high-pressure hydrogen storage cylinder whose capacity has been reduced by 15%. However, thanks to a more improved fuel cell system, the FCV's cruising range has been expanded to more than 370 km compared with about 350 km in the previous model.

Separately, Nissan also announced it has also developed an X-TRAIL FCV equipped with a 70MPa high-pressure hydrogen storage cylinder and a cruising range of more than 500 km, about 1.4 times that of the 2005 model. Nissan plans to test the vehicle on public roads in Canada in February 2006 and in other locations when compatible hydrogen stations are available.

Nissan has been working on FCV development since 1996. In addition to the design and engineering work conducted in Japan, extensive testing and development has been conducted in other markets, most notably the United States, where Nissan is a member of the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP). Nissan FCV activities in the US have focused on testing and demonstration work since 2000.