Zero Emissions TeRRA Fuel Cell Vehicle On Way To Paris

Nissan is getting in on the trend of showing in advance what it will be displaying at the Paris Motor Show.

The Nissan TeRRA SUV concept, to be unveiled Sept. 27 at the Paris Motor Show, combines, according to Nissan, two strengths – those of SUVs and EVs – in a vehicle that is equally in its element off-road or gliding silently through the city.

Nissan says the TeRRA, with an innovative 4×4 fuel-cell electric powertrain and an exterior that has presence beyond its compact dimensions, takes sustainable motoring into exciting new territory.

Building on Nissan’s success with crossovers like the Juke and Qashqai, and its EV success with the Leaf, the TeRRA shows that Nissan’s zero-emission expertise encompasses fuel cells too. It is designed as a functional and flexible choice for tomorrow’s youthful, “always on” consumers, bringing with it eco-friendliness along with a secure driving feel under any road conditions.

“Our challenge was to take Nissan’s strength in SUVs and crossovers forward into the zero-emissions era, fuel cells being our new frontier in zero emission mobility,” said Francois Bancon, Nissan’s division general manager of product strategy and planning. “Not big and tough for the desert, the aim was a new approach to SUVs that’s relevant to urban life. The unique diagonal seating layout that offers an exciting driving experience thanks to exceptional visibility that creates a sense of being in control under any conditions.”

Although TeRRA is presented as a design concept, not a technical exhibit, its proposed 4×4 fuel cell electric powertrain is far from imaginary. Powering the front wheels is the electric propulsion system currently featured in the Nissan LEAF. In each back wheel, providing all-wheel power as needed, is an in-wheel electric motor, based on the working prototypes featured in three successive PIVO concepts. As no drive shafts are required to power the rear wheels, there is no hump in the floor or on the underbody. This allows for the flat trunk floor and the underside bodypan.

Under the hood is ample space for Nissan’s hydrogen fuel cell stack: a flat, highly compact unit that features a power density of 2.5 kilowatts per liter.

The latest in a series of Nissan fuel cells since 1996, the stack costs just one-sixth of its 2005 predecessor as the need for expensive precious metals has been slashed to one-quarter of the previous level.

The TeRRA concept signals that Nissan is all but ready to mass-produce fuel cell electric vehicles whenever hydrogen becomes widely available.