BMW Presents Hydrogen Hybrid Solution
The German automaker has also been working on a hydrogen hybrid powertrain that could make its way under the hood of the aforementioned models, as autocar reports. The system uses a standard front wheel drive application together with an electric unit that drives the rear axle, which comes with a hydrogen fuel cell and electricity-storing high spec capacitors.
In the test vehicle used by the company’s engineers (a modified BMW 1 series), a production transverse MINI drivetrain sends power to the front wheels. Behind the engine, the vehicle has an Auxiliary Power Unit, a slim fuel cell that only develops 5 kW. This feeds electric current to the capacitors, which are located in the center tunnel. The devices drive the 82 kW electric motor on the rear axle.
This allows the car to be driven in two independent modes. The first is an all electric mode that makes the car become a rear wheel drive vehicle. The second is the petrol one, where the car uses front wheel drive. However, the two powerplants can be used simultaneously in order to deliver a high power output for a short period of time.
One of the main advantages of this layout is the fact that the vehicle can travel in the zero emissions mode while in the city, a feature that should be a key asset in the future, when certain cities are expected to require this.
BMW is currently considering a production version of this fuel cell hybrid technology.