The BMW Group starts everyday testing of serious vehicles with a hydrogen fuel cell drive on European roads. With the prototypes of the BMW i Hydrogen Next, the cooperation between the CO2-free drive, the model-specific suspension technology and the systems of vehicle electronics can be tested under practical conditions. The SUV based on the X5 is a purely electrically driven vehicle, which uses hydrogen as an energy carrier and convert them into electricity in a fuel cell.
With the test program now started, the prerequisites are created to present a small series of the model at the end of 2022. These vehicles serve to gain practical experience in the use of these sustainable drive technology in a broad field trial experience.
The hydrogen fuel cell technology has long-term potential to display a supplement to internal combustion engines, plug-in hybrid systems and battery electrical vehicles within the flexible drive strategy of the BMW Group, according to the manufacturer in a current message. In the future, it can be particularly for those customers an attractive alternative to battery-electric drives that do not have their own access to electrical charging infrastructure or often traveling on long-distance.
“Especially with larger vehicle classes, hydrogen fuel cell technology is an interesting option for sustainable drives. Therefore, the road testing of serious vehicles with a hydrogen fuel cell drive is an important milestone in our research and development work.”- Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG for development
Similar to the fuel tank of a conventional internal combustion engine model, the hydrogen tanks of the BMW i Hydrogen Next can be filled within three to four minutes with energy that ensures several hundred kilometers from all weather conditions for several hundred kilometers.
A central element of the now started testing of the BMW i Hydrogen Next on the road is the fine tuning of the software, with which all driving and operating functions are controlled. Previously, the fuel cell system, the hydrogen tanks and the power buffer battery as well as the central vehicle control unit have been tested both individually and together in hundreds of test runs on test stands.
This functional test is now following the practice test on the road. The intensive program among everyday conditions and through thousands of kilometers in real transport events serves development engineers to secure all components in terms of efficiency, safety, comfort and reliability. At the same time, it should be ensured during the trials that the locally emission-free mobility with hydrogen fuel cell technology is created for BMW models characteristic driving joy.
In the BMW I Hydrogen Next, fuel cells from product development cooperation with Toyota Motor Corporation are used, which has been a series-hydrogen car in the portfolio for several years with the MIRAI in already second-generation. The individual cells of the fuel cell come from Toyota. The fuel cell stacks designated as stack and the total drive system are original developments of the BMW Group. The cooperation existing since 2013 aims to optimize the use of everyday use and the scalability of hydrogen fuel cell technology for use in its own production vehicles through an intensive exchange of experience.
275 kW system performance
The total drive system of the BMW I Hydrogen Next combines the hydrogen fuel cell technology with BMW EDRive fifth generation technology, as is already experienced in the BMW IX3 as well as soon also in BMW IX and in BMW i4. The energy recovery in the fuel cell takes place as a result of a chemical reaction between the supplied hydrogen with oxygen from the air. An electric power of 125 kW (170 hp) is generated. An electrical transducer below the fuel cell adapts their voltage level to that of the electric motor, which ensures the drive of the BMW i Hydrogen Next.
For dynamic acceleration maneuvers and intermediate tracks for overtaking, the energy stored in a power buffer battery is additionally used. Thus, a system performance of 275 kW (374 hp) is available, which corresponds exactly to the level of the currently strongest in BMW models set-up cylinder gasoline otomotors and thus ensures brand-typical driving dynamics.
The energy stored in the power buffer battery, according to BMW, is won in a particularly efficient manner while driving by recuperation in push and brake phases. The hydrogen needed to supply the fuel cell is stored in two 700 bar tanks made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). Together they grasp six kilograms of hydrogen. In its precise controlled reaction with oxygen in the fuel cell, current is generated and released as the only emission of the drive water vapor.
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