BMW has begun testing “near-standard” prototypes of the ‘i Hydrogen NEXT’ – effectively a hydrogen-fuelled X5 – ahead of presenting a “small-series model” in 2022. The X5s will be tested in Europe under “real-life conditions” as BMW gears up to eventually stick a FCEV on sale, perhaps as early as 2025.
The i Hydrogen NEXT uses fuel cells developed together with Toyota and can carry six kilos of hydrogen in twin CFRP tanks. The fuel cell and “performance buffer battery” produce a combined 375hp, which BMW says provides “the driving dynamics the brand is known for”. No word on range.
Frank Weber, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Development, says: “Hydrogen fuel cell technology can be an attractive option for sustainable drive trains – especially in larger vehicle classes. That is why road testing of near-standard vehicles with a hydrogen fuel cell drive train is an important milestone in our research and development efforts.”
STORY Tom Harrison