BMW Hints At Possible i Hydrogen Next Production

Editor’s note: Apparently, BMW think it’s a good idea to hype hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in 2020!! Seriously. I’d insert 10 facepalms here if I could. Here’s the story:

BMW is hard at work on a second-generation hydrogen fuel cell electric car that could go into production later this decade, God willing and the creek don’t rise. A prototype of the car, which will use the underpinnings of the company’s X5 SUV, will be unveiled in 2022, the company says in a blog post.

BMW hydrogen fuel cell powertrain
Credit: BMW, via BMW Blog

Dubbed the i Hydrogen Next, the fuel cell car is a variation on the plug-in hybrid theme. A fuel cell will provide most of the electricity the car needs most of the time and a high-voltage battery will kick in more when the driver mashes the go pedal.

“The prospects of offering a larger-scale series production BMW FCEV depend very much on market conditions, requisite infrastructure, competitive pricing and customer requirements. BMW estimates that it will be able to launch such a vehicle in the second half of this decade at the earliest,” the company says.

BMW hydrogen fuel cell
Credit: BMW, via BMW Blog

Jürgen Guldner, vice president in charge of hydrogen fuel cell technology at BMW, explains the company’s second-generation hydrogen fuel cell powertrain generates up to 125 kW/168 hp of electric output from the chemical reaction between the hydrogen in the vehicles storage tanks and oxygen in the ambient air. Maximum power from the fuel cell and the high-voltage battery mounted atop the rear mounted motor is said to be 275 kW/368 hp. Regenerative braking will be used to partially recharge the battery.

BMW hydrogen fuel cell
Credit: BMW, via BMW Blog

Where the battery pack would normally go in a fully electric vehicle, BMW positions two hydrogen storage tanks pressurized to 700 bar/10,000 psi. Together they can hold up to 6 kilograms of liquid hydrogen. “The 5th generation of the eDrive unit that will debut on the forthcoming BMW iX3 electric SAV this year will also be an integral part of hydrogen fuel cell electric architecture of the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT.”

The Takeaway

BMW is telling us that if market conditions are right, and if demand is there, and if there are hydrogen refueling stations available, it might be ready to build a hydrogen fuel cell car that looks a lot like a BMW X5 SUV someday. Oh, happy day — a German-made Toyota Mirai. Just what the world needs. Perhaps they should call it the if Hydrogen Next. A video with more details follows.


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