With the introduction of the BMW and Hydrogen Next at the IAA Motor Show 2019 in Frankfurt, the BMW Group is demonstrating its ability to complement its portfolio of electrified vehicles with the deployment of hydrogen fuel cell technology.
As one of the pioneering actors in the field of electric mobility, the BMW Group is preparing for the demands of future mobility, as evidenced by the BMW i Hydrogen Next fuel cell development vehicle that visitors to the Saln can see of the IAA 2019 Car in Frankfurt. The BMW Group starts from the basis that in the future several alternative types of propulsion systems will coexist, since there is no single solution that covers the entire spectrum of mobility needs of customers worldwide. Hydrogen vehicles represent an important alternative and complement to electric battery propulsion systems. This rich diversity of electrified propulsion technologies – of which plug-in hybrids are another example – underlines the BMW Group's commitment to achieve zero-emission mobility as part of a well-planned strategy.
In 2022, the BMW Group plans to present the next generation of hydrogen fuel cell electric propulsion systems, in a vehicle based on the current BMW X5 and produced in a small series. The BMW i Hydrogen Next offers a first look at what this model has prepared. The BMW Group will begin offering its customers fuel cell vehicles in 2025, as soon as possible, but the schedule depends largely on market requirements and general conditions.
BMW i Hydrogen Next design
The BMW i Hydrogen Next demonstrates that this technology can be effectively integrated into a dynamic car like the BMW X5. The slight modifications in the vehicle design make it deliberately recognizable as a BMW i model. BMW is committed to innovation and acts as an incubator for all the new technologies of the BMW Group.
In the front, the modifications are clearly more visible by the distinctive design of the cap, with the blue pattern of BMW i. This pattern reappears three-dimensionally in the air intakes. The shape and color of the pattern form a dynamic flow through the front and the sides of the body, in Mineral White. The details of the alloy wheels provide additional confirmation of the BMW and model genes.
The innovative nature of this development vehicle also shines in the rear, thanks to the BMW and Blue elements of the diffuser. Its closed design and without exhaust outlets clearly emphasizes that the car's transmission system produces zero local emissions.
Great potential and with an important benefit for the client
Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are capable of offering mobility with zero emissions and without restrictions, with similar use characteristics to those of conventional vehicles: refueling times of less than four minutes, great autonomy, without compromises in terms of comfort, possibility of towing and very little dependence on weather conditions, which means that customers enjoy a wide autonomy in both summer and winter. For all this to be possible, an adequate hydrogen infrastructure is needed. In most countries, these supply infrastructures are still in the early stages of development.
Partnership with Toyota for development
The BMW Group has already demonstrated the convenience of this technology for daily use. The BMW Group and Toyota Motor Corporation joined forces in 2013 to jointly develop a hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system. Since the summer of 2015, the BMW Group's research wing has been testing a small fleet of BMW 5 Series GT prototypes with a fuel cell, developed in conjunction with Toyota.
In 2016, the two companies signed an association agreement for product development. Since then they have been working together in future generations of fuel cell propulsion systems, and in scalable and modular components for vehicles with hydrogen fuel cells. The alliance with Toyota Motor Corporation shows how the BMW Group has intensified its efforts to develop alternative propulsion technologies for totally emission-free driving. Both partners have great faith in fuel cell technology and will continue to collaborate to develop it while infrastructure and the mass market grow worldwide.
In January 2017, the BMW Group and Toyota partnered with eleven leading companies in energy, transportation and industry to launch a global initiative known as the Hydrogen Council. Its goal is to forge a united vision and drive the long-term ambition of a hydrogen-powered energy revolution. In June 2019, the Hydrogen Council has reached 60 affiliated companies.