As part of its long-term commitment to fuel cell technology, BMW Group will launch the second generation of its hydrogen-based powertrain in 2022 on a small series of the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT based on the current X5 generation.
The premium carmaker offers first virtual insights into the powertrain system for the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT and reaffirms its commitment to following a carefully considered and systematic route to emission-free mobility.
“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, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Research and Development.
“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 BMW Group has been working with the Toyota Motor Corporation on fuel cell technology since 2013. The two manufacturers have joined forces to work on fuel cell powertrain systems and scalable, modular components for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles under a product development cooperation agreement.
Fuel cells from the cooperation with Toyota will be deployed in the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT, alongside a fuel cell stack and overall system developed by the BMW Group. As well as partnering on the development and industrialisation of fuel cell technology for the mass market, the two companies are also founding members of the Hydrogen Council.
“The fuel cell system for the powertrain for the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT generates up to 125 kW of electric energy from the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen from the ambient air,” explains Jürgen Guldner, Vice President of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology and Vehicle Projects at the BMW Group.
This means the vehicle emits nothing but water vapour. The electric converter located underneath the fuel cell adapts the voltage level to that of both the electric powertrain and the peak power battery, which is fed by brake energy as well as the energy from the fuel cell. The vehicle also accommodates a pair of 700 bar tanks that can together hold six kilograms of hydrogen.
“This guarantees a long-range regardless of the weather conditions,” notes Guldner. “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 peak power battery positioned above the electric motor injects an extra dose of dynamics when overtaking or accelerating. The total system output of 275 kW fuels the typical driving dynamics for which BMW is renowned.
This hydrogen fuel cell electric powertrain will be piloted in a small series based on the current BMW X5 that the BMW Group plans to present in 2022. A customer offer powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology will be brought to market at the earliest in the second half of this decade by the BMW Group, depending on the global market conditions and requirements.