Powertrain details released for BMW i Hydrogen NEXT

Group aims to bring hydrogen fuel cell technology to market in second half of the decade

BMW has released the first technical details on the powertrain system for its i Hydrogen NEXT which is being developed with Toyota Motor Corporation.

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 and 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.

Jürgen Guldner, vice president of hydrogen fuel cell technology and vehicle projects at the BMW Group said: “This guarantees a long range regardless of the weather conditions and refuelling only takes three to four minutes.”

The second generation of the BMW fuel cell powertrain.

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 dynamics 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.

Klaus Fröhlich, member of the board of management of BMW AG, research and development said: “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.

The 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.

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