BMW Takes Hydrogen For A Test Drive

Tue 22nd Jun 2021

German automotive powerhouse BMW is moving forward with plans to test hydrogen fuel cell technology with a series of on-road test drives of prototype vehicles.

With one eye on producing a small series model in 2022, BMW are testing the i Hydrogen NEXT in real world conditions, with the aim of offering the technology to other companies to test, rather than going to general sale.

The prototype is based on the X5 SUV, with a fuel cell that can be filled in under four minutes using a fuel technology which should deliver a range of several hundred kilometres in all conditions.

The powertrain is the same as the one which has been developed in partnership with Toyota, the pioneers of hydrogen fuel cell technology, who recently broke the 1000k barrier on just one tank of fuel.

“Hydrogen fuel cell technology can be an attractive option for sustainable drive trains – especially in larger vehicle classes,” according to Frank Weber, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Development. “That is why road testing of near-standard vehicles with a hydrogen fuel cell drive train is an important milestone in our research and development efforts.”

The BMW i Hydrogen NEXT is a pure electric vehicle that uses hydrogen as fuel by converting it into electricity in a fuel cell and could become an attractive alternative to battery-electric drive trains – especially for customers who do not have their own access to electric charging infrastructure or who frequently drive long distances.