BMW hydrogen fuel cell car road tests begin in EuropeJune 23, 2021
The automaker, like Toyota and Honda, is one of several in the industry exploring H2’s potential.
Testing of BMW hydrogen fuel cell drivetrains have started testing in Europe as the German automaker tests its technology “in everyday conditions on European Roads.”
The company recently announced that its prototypes would be tested against a number of metrics.
Among the metrics for which the BMW hydrogen fuel car prototype called the i Hydrogen Next would be tested include safety, reliability, and efficiency. The company described the H2 technology as holding the “long term potential to supplement internal combustion engines, plug-in hybrid systems and battery-electric vehicles.”
The company also stated that this technology has the potential to “become an attractive alternative to battery-electric drive trains – especially for customers who do not have their own access to electric charging infrastructure or who frequently drive long distances.” Their goal is to complete the tests and follow them with the production of a small-series model next year.
The individual BMW hydrogen fuel cells are provided by Toyota, while the German automaker is developing the fuel cell stack and the drive system in its entirety. The i Hydrogen Next’s H2 tank fills from empty in between three and four minutes, said the company, adding that it gives motorists “a range of several hundred kilometres in all weather conditions.”
The BMW hydrogen fuel car is one of a handful being developed in the personal auto sector.
Though there had been quite a large number of major automakers looking into H2 cars, many have withdrawn from the effort in favor of other applications, such as for heavy-duty vehicles and long-haul transport. That said, Jaguar Land Rover announced last week that it was working on its own H2 fuel cell electric car and planned to start testing in late 2021.
The automaker is not new to this technology. In fact, in 2006, it first announced the production of its Hydrogen 7, at which time it described the H2-powered vehicle as “the world’s first hydrogen-powered luxury saloon car.” It also described the BMW hydrogen fuel car as using an internal combustion engine that would run on either liquid H2 or on conventional gasoline.