The powertrain for the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT: BMW Group reaffirms its ongoing commitment to hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Munich. Developing alternative powertrain
technologies is a top priority for the BMW Group. The premium carmaker
offers first
virtual insights into the powertrain system for the BMW i Hydrogen
[1] and reaffirms its commitment to following a carefully
considered and systematic route to emission-free mobility. This
approach also includes the careful consideration of differing market
and customer requirements as part of the company’s Power of Choice
strategy. Customer centricity and the flexibility needed for this are
essential in facilitating the breakthrough for sustainable mobility on
the global stage.

Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management of
BMW AG, Research and Development (click here to
watch the video statement):
[2] “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. 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.

Future prospects for hydrogen fuel cell
Although the BMW Group has no doubt as to
the long-term potential of fuel cell powertrain systems, it
will be

some time before the company offers its customers a
production car
powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology. This is
primarily due to the fact that the right framework conditions are not
yet in place. “In our view, hydrogen as energy
carrier must first be produced in sufficient quantities at a
competitive price using green electricity
. Hydrogen will
then be used primarily in applications that cannot be directly
electrified, such as long-distance heavy duty transport,” said Klaus
Fröhlich. The requisite infrastructure, such as an
extensive, Europe-wide network of hydrogen filling stations, is also
lacking at present. However, the BMW Group is
pressing ahead with its development work in the field of hydrogen fuel
cell technology. The company is using the time until the
infrastructure and sustainably produced hydrogen supply are in place
to substantially reduce the cost of manufacturing the powertrain
system. The BMW Group is already bringing battery electric vehicles to
market with sustainable energy and will soon be offering its customers
a wide range of electrified vehicles. A total of 25 models are slated
for launch by 2023, including at least twelve with an all-electric powertrain.

Initial technical details of the powertrain for the BMW i
Hydrogen NEXT.
“The fuel cell system
for the powertrain for the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT generates up to
125 kW (170 hp) 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
.” 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
when overtaking or accelerating. The total
system output of 275 kW (374 hp)
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
by the BMW Group, depending on the global market
conditions and requirements.

Collaboration with Toyota continues.
To ensure
it is ideally prepared to meet the technological demands of a
hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle by the second half of this decade,
the BMW Group is teaming up with the Toyota Motor Corporation as part
of a successful partnership that dates back to 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. A
wealth of other leading companies in the energy, transport and
industrial sectors have joined the Hydrogen Council since 2017,
swelling its ranks to over 80 members.

BMW Group is involved in the BRYSON research project.

The BMW Group’s participation in the research project
BRYSON (a German acronym for ‘space-efficient hydrogen storage tanks
with optimised usability’) underlines its faith in the future
viability and potential of hydrogen fuel cell technology. This
alliance between BMW AG, Munich University of Applied Sciences,
Leichtbauzentrum Sachsen GmbH, the Technical University of Dresden and
WELA Handelsgesellschaft mbH seeks to develop pioneering high-pressure
hydrogen storage tanks. These are to be designed to allow easy
integration into future universal vehicle architectures. The project
aims to develop tanks with a flat design. Set to run for a period of
three-and-a-half years and with funding from the Federal Ministry for
Economic Affairs and Energy, this project will also help to lower the
cost of manufacturing hydrogen tanks for fuel cell vehicles, enabling
them to compete effectively with battery electric vehicles.

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