BMW commences testing of hydrogen vehicles on European roads

BMW steps into the future with their hydrogen vehicle testing.

 
BMW has launched on-road testing of its hydrogen-powered prototypes. 
 
Called the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT, the car will be tested on public roads to see how it copes with real-life conditions prior to a ‘small series’ model arriving later next year. It’ll likely mean that these cars are offered to companies to test out the technology instead of a full-scale production car offered to the public. 
 
Essentially a hydrogen-powered version of the firm’s X5, the i Hydrogen NEXT’s tanks can be filled with hydrogen within three to four minutes.
 
Frank Weber, member of the board of management of BMW AG responsible for development, said: “Hydrogen fuel cell technology can be an attractive option for sustainable drivetrains – especially in larger vehicle classes.
 
“That is why road testing of near-standard vehicles with a hydrogen fuel cell drivetrain is an important milestone in our research and development efforts.”
 
BMW is developing the powertrain in partnership with Toyota. The Japanese firm creates and supplies the individual fuel cells, while the fuel cell stack and complete drive system are sourced from BMW. 
 
In addition, the car uses BMW’s fifth-generation eDrive technology, which will also feature on the upcoming iX and i4 EVs. Energy created through the chemical reaction between the hydrogen and air is then pushed through an electric converter to power the car. 
 
Energy is also stored within a ‘buffer’ battery which can then be used to provide short bursts of performance, such as when overtaking. Thanks to 369bhp, the hydrogen powertrain brings similar performance to that from one of BMW’s conventional six-cylinder engines. 
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