Commitment to Hydrogen

BMW has stated its ongoing commitment to hydrogen fuel cell technology, the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT project, a collaboration with Toyota dating back to 2013, is set to continue. The project recently shared its first ‘virtual insights’ in the form of computer-generated images. It’s all part of its ‘Power of Choice strategy’ whereby BMW is developing differing options for the future customer – “there is no single solution” is the mantra. This flexibility will allow BMW a foot in both future mobility camps – hydrogen fuel cell and battery electric – should the axe ultimately fall in one direction or the other, or somewhere in between. It’s the VHS versus Betamax argument all over again…

Unlike its speedy roll-out of battery electric vehicles, BMW admits that it will be “some time” before we see a new BMW production car powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology and emitting nothing but water vapour.

 Commitment to Hydrogen

Commitment to Hydrogen

It thinks we will first see hydrogen being used by long-distance transport, HGVs for example, which will in theory accelerate the infrastructure issues – an extensive Europe-wide network of hydrogen filling stations is lacking at present. Nonetheless research continues, and initial technical details of the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT powertrain reveal that it generates up to 125kW (170hp).

The fifth-generation eDrive unit set to make its debut in the BMW iX3 is fully integrated into the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT. The battery positioned above the electric motor injects an extra dose of performance when overtaking or accelerating. The total system output is 275kW (374hp) . The hydrogen fuel cell electric powertrain will be piloted in a small series based on the current BMW X5 that BMW plans to present in 2022. It’ll be the second half of this decade at the earliest before we see a series produced customer proposition.

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