Here's the First Look at BMW's Hydrogen Fuel Cell Powertrain

Hydrogen fuel cell powertrain BMW is currently working on 10 photos
Photo: BMW
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The path toward an electrically-powered future can no longer be altered in the auto industry. That became clear quite some time ago, after most of the world’s carmakers committed to shifting, at least partially, to electrified powertrains.
Despite this certainty, however, it's not entirely clear how that future will look like. Presently, carmakers are pressing ahead with EVs that take their power from batteries and plugs, but given the fact that presents some challenges when it comes to time spent recharging, other avenues are exploited at the same time.

Hydrogen fuel-cell cars could be a solution, provided the cost and availability of this type of fuel reach acceptable levels. Once they do, hydrogen has all it needs to eventually overtake conventionally-powered EVs, should it be helped in doing so.

There are presently – and have been for some time – several carmakers testing hydrogen fuel cell technologies, including Toyota and BMW. The two have joined hands about seven years ago to share cost and knowledge for the development of such a vehicle.

As a new week is about to start, BMW presented the first technical details on the car that is the result of this collaboration, one it calls the i Hydrogen Next for now.

The test car, a current-generation X5, has been converted to accommodate two 700 bar hydrogen tanks capable of holding 6 kg of hydrogen. This, says the carmaker, should allow it to achieve a “long range,” and also refuel in about the same time it takes an ICE car to fill its tank today: three to four minutes.

The fuel cell system used by BMW generates about 170 hp of power. Add to that some extra ponies coming in time of need from an eDrive unit also fitted on the car (the same that will soon make its way on the iX3), and the car’s total troop stands at 374 hp.

BMW says it plans to start testing the system on X5s sometime in 2022, and start selling it a few years after that.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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