BMW fuel cell powertrain unveiled developed with ToyotaApril 3, 2020
The automakers have been working in a partnership to design a vehicle powered by H2.
The new BMW fuel cell powertrain has now been officially unveiled through a partnership between that automaker and Toyota.
As the hydrogen economy expands in East Asia, carmakers are looking to H2 for power.
Japan and South Korea have been pushing particularly hard to come up with renewable energy alternatives to fossil fuel propelled vehicles. While much of the world has been turning to battery-electric vehicles, East Asia has been focusing on hydrogen as a viable energy import. Toyota, Kia and Hyundai have all been working hard to power their vehicles using renewable energy sources.
Though that has not been the case in Europe, Germany-based BMW partnered with Toyota to develop its own BMW fuel cell powertrain. This way, if hydrogen vehicles truly take off, the German automaker will have options available in that market.
The BMW fuel cell powertrain offers an alternative to the other alternative systems.
“We are convinced that various alternative powertrain systems will exist alongside one another in future, as there is no single solution that addresses the full spectrum of customers’ mobility requirements worldwide,” said Klaus Fröhlich, BMW board member. “The hydrogen fuel cell technology could quite feasibly become the fourth pillar of our powertrain portfolio in the long term. The upper-end models in our extremely popular X family would make particularly suitable candidates here.”
The automaker presented a prototype for its Hydrogen Next concept car. It features two 10,150 psi pressurized tanks for a 13.2-pound capacity of compressed hydrogen. This provides the car with a range of about 466 miles, assuming its fuel efficiency is comparable to that of the Toyota Mirai. That said, it will take slightly longer to fuel up an H2 powered vehicle that it would to pump traditional fossil fuel gas. That is not specific to this vehicle but is the same for any car powered by H2.
The BMW fuel cell powertrain converts hydrogen into electric power at about 170hp. This is poured into the wheels as required and is supported by a “peak power battery” for further power as required. This provides a 374 hp total system peak output.