BMW has reiterated its commitment to a hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered vehicle by 2025, in part of an announcement and video from Klaus Fröhlich, member of the board of management for Research and Development, BMW AG - saying that the fuel-type could become a 'fourth pillar' of the marque's future mobility stable of propulsion systems.
Although BMW has made significant commitments to electric vehicles through its i brand, Fröhlich says that the German firm will continue to work closely with Toyota on hydrogen power. At the moment, Fröhlich states the obvious problem with the fuel, saying that the hydrogen-refilling infrastructure simply isn't yet ready for a production vehicle to be released, but he also adds: "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. 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."
BMW has been working with Toyota on hydrogen fuel cell tech since 2013 but the key to this is the ready availability of the fuel in the future, as Fröhlich expands: "In our view, hydrogen as energy carrier must first be produced in sufficient quantities at a competitive price using green electricity. Hydrogen will then be used primarily in applications that cannot be directly electrified, such as long-distance heavy-duty transport."
Total of 374hp
As part of the video announcement, Fröhlich said that any BMW hydrogen X-model due for 2025 would have 275kW (374hp) in total, which is the same as the current M340i generates. And Jürgen Guldner, vice-president of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology and Vehicle Projects at BMW Group, explains: "The fuel cell system for the powertrain for the BMW i Hydrogen Next generates up to 125kW (170hp) of electric energy from the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen from the ambient air." Emitting nothing but water vapour from its exhausts and possessing two 700bar hydrogen tanks which can store 6kg of the liquefied gas, Guldner goes on: "This guarantees a long range regardless of the weather conditions and refuelling only takes three to four minutes."
The fifth-generation eDrive unit set to make its debut in the BMW iX3 is also fully integrated into the BMW i Hydrogen Next. The hydrogen fuel cell electric powertrain will be piloted in a small production series based on the current BMW X5 and should be presented in 2022.
Watch the full video statement from Fröhlich here on YouTube.