Testing of BMW i Hydrogen NEXT begins
Posted on 11 Jul 2021 and read 651 times
The BMW Group
is testing ‘near standard’ vehicles with a hydrogen fuel cell drive train in everyday conditions on European roads. Prototypes of the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT will examine how effectively the drive train, model-specific chassis technology and vehicle electronics systems work together under real-life conditions.
The BMW i Hydrogen NEXT is a ‘pure electric’ vehicle that uses hydrogen as fuel by converting it into electricity in a fuel cell. BMW Group said the recently launched test programme will pave the way for it to present a ‘small series’ model with this drive technology, developed on the basis of the BMW X5, in late 2022.
“Extensive field testing of these vehicles will provide practical experience in the use of this sustainable drive technology. Hydrogen fuel cell technology has the long-term potential to supplement internal combustion engines, plug-in hybrid systems and battery-electric vehicles within the BMW Group’s flexible drive train strategy.
“It 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.
“Moreover, this technology can be an attractive option for sustainable drive trains – especially in larger vehicle classes. 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.”
A central element of the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT road tests now underway is fine-tuning the software that controls all driving and operating functions that have all previously been tested individually and together in hundreds of test runs conducted on test benches.
This intensive programme, which is conducted under everyday conditions, with thousands of km driven in real traffic situations, is helping development engineers to validate the efficiency, safety, convenience and reliability of all components of this ‘locally emission-free mobility’.
The BMW i Hydrogen NEXT uses fuel cells from the product development cooperation — established in 2013 — with the Toyota Motor Corporation. The individual cells come from Toyota, while the fuel cell stack and complete drive system are original BMW Group developments.