Following on from the successful use of its Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCVs) in demonstration fleets in Japan and California, Nissan has announced its first commercial FCV lease in North America to Sacramento Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Inc. In an advantageous brand tie-in the zero emissions X-TRAIL FCV will be used by the bottler for sales calls and public events in the Sacramento area in promotion of its Coca-Cola Zero soft drink.

Mazda got the ball rolling earlier this year by becoming the world’s first vehicle manufacturer to begin commercial leasing of a hydrogen hybrid vehicle in Japan and now Nissan has followed suit with the fuel-cell powered X-Trail.

The vehicle, which is based on the X-TRAIL SUV, is fitted with a compact fuel cell stack, a compact Lithium-ion battery and a high-pressure hydrogen storage cylinder. Performance is close to that of a similarly sized internal combustion engine-based vehicle with versions of the current generation X-TRAIL FCV capable of speeds in excess of 95 mph (153kmh) with a cruising range of up to 300 miles (483km).

Sacramento-based Nissan X-TRAIL FCVs have already logged nearly 300,000 miles in ongoing internal tests, with one vehicle very close to the 100,000-mile mark.

“The future of sustainable mobility will depend on the simultaneous development of many technologies. Test programs like Sacramento Coca-Cola X-TRAIL FCV lease help us keep our momentum going in this arena, even as we’re getting ready to roll out the new Nissan LEAF electric vehicle in the next year,” said Eric Noziere, vice president, Corporate Planning, Nissan North America.

“Sacramento already has the beginning of a hydrogen infrastructure in place, and Sacramento Coca-Cola has a track record of utilizing low emissions cars, so the two companies share a green philosophy as well as a common love of things ‘zero’,” said Noziere.

In addition to the current generation X-TRAIL FCV, Nissan earlier this year announced testing of a next-generation fuel cell stack that is 25 percent smaller than the current model and will be less expensive to build.

Nissan North America recently opened a new Fuel Cell Laboratory at the Nissan Technical Center in Farmington Hills, Mich. The new lab will support other global Nissan research centers and will work with suppliers and universities on various related fuel cell projects.