BMW i5 To Be Hydrogen Powered?

DEC 9 2014 BY STAFF 23

 

BMW i5 Rendering

BMW i5 Rendering

 

2017 BMW i5 Rendering - Source: Car and Driver

2017 BMW i5 Rendering – Source: Car and Driver

According to Autocar, the long-time rumored BMW i5 might be using a version of the hydrogen-electric fuel cell system used in the Toyota FCV.

BMW aims to be one of the first automakers to bring a hydrogen fuel call car to market and has experimented in the past with such concepts. BMW and Toyota first announced their cooperation on hydrogen fuel cells back in 2013.

By joining the BMW i sub-brand existing lineup – i3 and i8 – the new BMW i5 will provide a third alternative-energy vehicle to a new demographic.

*Editor’s Note: This post appears on BMWBLOG.  Check it out here.

The i5 will also ensure BMW has an answer to a hydrogen fuel cell-powered Mercedes-Benz B-class, which comes to market in 2017. Audi will also unveil a hydrogen-powered A7.

The advantages of a hydrogen-fuel BMW i5 over a fully electric-vehicle is the ability to refuel quicker versus the 30 minutes plus recharging of an EV. Fuel cells take in hydrogen and oxygen, run them through a catalyst and spit out spare electrons (electricity) and water – and, depending on the source of the hydrogen, some other emissions. The choice of catalyst influences the efficiency of the fuel cell and the operating temperatures (which generally range from hot to extremely hot). A single fuel cell wont do the trick – so they are combined into stacks to provide the appropriate amount of power.

From an electric vehicle perspective, the fuel cell replaces the batteries. That means their energy density has to be better (or they have to be substantially cheaper) than existing or near-horizon battery technology in order to be useful. There is also the issue of how best to supply the hydrogen. Containing a given mass of hydrogen is much more difficult than say a similar mass of gasoline (but the hydrogen, believe it or not is safer than the gas – once pressurization is taken out of the equation).

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23 Comments on "BMW i5 To Be Hydrogen Powered?"

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Ontario Leaf

Et tu, BMW?
Looks like both Toyota and BMW conspire to Tesla’s success.

Maybe an i5 with ReX: one gas based ReX like the i3 and another with H2. And then let the market decide.

See Through

And Mercedes too, for H2 powered car in 2017 🙂

BMW has seen all techs (ICE, BEV, FCEV) closely, and they wisely chose to not discard fuel cells as ‘fool cells’. There must be something in it.

Alonso Perez

Politics.

Mike

Trolling CA for CARB credits.
Time for CA to Kill Off Hydrogen Already.

ffbj

Yes, and if so then hydrogen car production and sales would dry up. So just take existing tech plug it into a body and you are in compliance, and oh so innovative.
Odd that a regulation is the driving force behind FCV, as there no good reason to build it except for that. If it went bye bye, carb credits as you suggest, so would these fuel cells cars. Go directly to jail pass go! A fuel cell.

Priusmaniac

If at least it was a direct ethanol fuel cell it could be used as a bioethanol silent rex but with hydrogen you are right back in the super high inconvenient pressures and fossil based fuel lobby again.

Surya

A FC is too expensive to put in an affordable car, let alone as just a range extender. Then you have both the cost of the FC and the battery.

Alonso Perez

I would be surprised. There might be a hydrogen i5, but it is likely to be produced in such low numbers that it would be a just a variant of a regular EV i5.

The main question about the i5 is if it will be an ICE hybrid like the i8 or a true EV with Rex option, like the i3.

A true EV i5 would make for a simple hydrogen fuel cell version. Just shrink the battery and add a fuel cell stack. The Toyota Mirai, after all, is an EV with a fuel cell on it.

See Through

Germany is way ahead of California in Hydrogen infrastructure. That could be the primary market for these cars initially. In Germany, charging an EV from the grid is no greener than using an ICE car.

Mutwin Kraus

Not sure where you have that information from but it is completely wrong.

scottf200

Germany Now Produces Half Of Its Energy Using Solar – June 24, 2014 | by Stephen Luntz
http://www.iflscience.com/technology/germany-now-produces-half-its-energy-using-solar

Micke Larsson

Haha… It might actually fool someone not reading carefull enough or knowing about the situation.

Germanys solar is marginal in winter (when electricity is most needed) and barely covering 5% of total electricity during the year.

And if you look at total energy in Germany it’s barely a blip.

They have a long way to go to get close to being green.

Get Real

The real issue with Hydrogen is where it comes from, almost always from Fossil Fuels.

If and until it can be made cheaply and environmentally from H2O, its a technology whose time has NOT come.

wraithnot

There is a chance we might get a i5 BEV when the lease on my wife’s i3 is up. There is zero chance we’d get a hydrogen i5 unless they build a hydrogen station across the street. Since we live in a residential neighborhood, I find that unlikely.

Rick Danger

I don’t think you’d really want a hydrogen station across the street, in any case.

kdawg

LOL, so now we know what the i, in the i5 will stand for; imaginary. Just like the Toyota Mirage.

Introducing the BMW √(-25)

JRMW

Square root of a negat…?

Oh. I see what you did there.

I look forward to all 3 of these that BMW will sell in Los Angeles. If they give away fuel.

With all that range it might be able to waddle to San Diego and back. Zooming from 0 to 50 mph in 22.4 seconds.

Actually, snark aside I want them to build this and an i5 BEV with Rex or even a PHEV with decent range so we can see what is actually better in a head to head competition.

If H2 cars take off and if we can get a cleaner way to make H2 economically… Well I’ll reassess my feelings

I’m not afraid to be wrong.

Also… Since when will the i5 simply be a stretched i3? I doubt that rendering by Car and Driver will come to pass

liberty

“believe it or not is safer than the gas – once pressurization is taken out of the equation”

I like it the electron heads at bmw probably felt good getting that by the Toyota proof readers. Sure hydrogen is safer than gasoline until you pressurize it to 10,000 psi then park it in your garage where the hydrogen is trapped if it leaks.

“BMW aims to be one of the first automakers to bring a hydrogen fuel call car to market”
sure just like in 3rd grade sports here everybody can be first. Well first there were gm and honda, but those don’t count because they were so long ago, then there is mercedes, hyundai, toyota, and honda. Sure gm and ford and bmw might make one with their partners at the same time, but hey bmw will be one of the firsts to reanounce that they support hydrogen as long as the regulators tell them they have to.

Anon

Due to the financial loss on each unit, it will be used to gather magical CARB CREDITS, so they can continue selling ICE vehicles…

Stephen

If they do it, it will be low production just like the Mirai. The i5 will be primarily EV and gas PHEV.

ItsNotAboutTheMoney

Look on the bright side, if the i5 gets them enough ZEV credits, they can make the i3 REx more functional.

Brian Henderson

“From an electric vehicle perspective, the fuel cell replaces the batteries. That means their energy density has to be better (or they have to be substantially cheaper) than existing or near-horizon battery technology in order to be useful.»

Am always curious when weight and density of a hydrogen tank is compared to weight and density of a battery. Not to mention the weight and density of the fuel cell, or of the battery needed in a fuel cell system to start and buffer power. It would be interesting to see more details on components used in the Miria and other fuel cell vehicles? How do the compare to components in a LEAF, or Tesla?

«There is also the issue of how best to supply the hydrogen. Containing a given mass of hydrogen is much more difficult than say a similar mass of gasoline»

In reality, not solving the supply issues are an unknown expense. Not having a good solution means a leaking energy, not an environmental issue with hydrogen, but will be a loss in efficiency.

Kalle

For me the apeeling part of an EV is that you dont need oil/gas companys. That goes out the window with fuel cells