AFTER THREE YEARS OF EV, IS NEXT YEAR THE YEAR OF HYDROGEN?
AFTER YEARS OF RUNNING A FLEET OF COMBUSTIONS ENGINES ON HYDROGEN, BMW HAS NOW ANNOUNCED A JOINT VENTURE TO DEVELOP HYDROGEN FUEL CELL POWERED CARS.
Don’t be confused: The term “hydrogen powered” is being used to describe two very different systems for using the hydrogen as a fuel. Hydrogen can directly replace the petrol/air mix, with the engine operating normally and the emissions from the exhaust being almost entirely water and CO2. The alternative is to use hydrogen in a fuel cell where it reacts with oxygen and a catalyst to produce electricity, heat and water. This will either charge a battery or power and electric vehicle directly.
So far so good: Since as long ago as 2005, BMW has operated a fleet of 7 series V12’s at the factory using hydrogen in regular internal combustion engines with no major issues following some alterations to the fueling system. Following some years of working with Toyota, BMW has announced that it is working on pre-production fuel-cell systems which they hope to go into production in 2022.
The I Hydrogen Next
In a release accompanying the announcement, BMW said that the i Hydrogen Next fuel-cell development vehicle revealed at the Frankfurt auto show:
“demonstrates that this technology can be integrated effectively into a dynamic vehicle like the BMW X5.”
The BMW X5 will be part of the iBlue brand.
The new drive system has been developed from a system that Toyota first showed in 2013. The next generation fuel cell stack has been operated by Toyota without issues. BMW, light on details as ever, have not disclosed whether the X5 will charge batteries from the unit or drive motors directly…