At its R&D event this week BMW showed off the latest vehicle prototype fully powered by hydrogen fuel cells.
The vehicle is set to hit the road during this month to test its capabilities while expanding the clean fuel vehicle offering range. BMW released i3 in 2013. Since then, this new hydrogen fuel cells would be the crown jewel of the German automaker.
The public will not the BMW vehicle coming to dealers any time before 2020, according to Matthias Klietz, the lead of powertrain research at BMW. Until then, it is expected that the prototype will develop into a technically mature, ready for the roads vehicle.
“By around 2025 to 2030, we expects fuel cell cars to have an established presence, but there are challenges that remain, like building the refuelling infrastructure”,
commented Matthia Klietz.
The hydrogen fuel cell technology is being developed in partnership with Toyota Motors. The prototype shown at the R&D event in Miramas was in fact a tweaked Gran Turismo, 5-Series. An enhanced, clean running vehicle, sported as the a promise-deliverer on alternative power sources and fuel use efficiency ready to comply to reducing emissions targets.
Fuel cells have been around since the 1960s when they started powering spacecrafts. They produce the needed electricity from the chemical reaction of hydrogen in contact with air. At the same time, a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle allows for longer travel than the already existing battery powered vehicle. In terms of clean fuel, it can’t get cleaner than emission in the form of water vapour rather than the usual CO2.
For all the praise, there are currently some drawbacks too. These include the lack of service stations, high costs attached to the rare metals necessary for technology development.
According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, by the time BMW is planning to release the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle for the public, the worldwide market for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles should amount to about 8,400.
At the end of 2015 it is expected that there are 1,275 such vehicles on public roads. At the moment the technology remains highly prohibitive due to the costs.
Nonetheless, automakers seem to be dedicated to the pledge. Also on Wednesday, Toyota, Nissan and Honda vouched joint funds for hydrogen-fueling network across the country.
Momentarily, BMW hydrogen fuel cells Gran Turismo scores 500 km before needing to refuel. 2013-released i3 only reaches 160 km and five-hour recharge time. Comparatively, the hydrogen fuel cell prototype vehicle would only take five minutes for a complete recharge.
Image Source: amazonaws.com
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