When it comes to the adoption of alternate fuel sources in recent years, almost every automotive manufacturer seems to have been focussing solely on electrification. That’s not the case with BMW however; alongside their BMW i electric product range, they’ve also been experimenting with hydrogen power. As such, they’ve unveiled the new BMW i Hydrogen NEXT concept at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show.
The hydrogen powered BMW X5 concept – which is actually the product of a continued joint venture with Toyota – is set to join the BMW range in 2022, when production of a small number of hydrogen powered vehicles will begin. That initial soft release will be followed by a range of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles that are scheduled to join the range in around 2025.
Speaking of their hydrogen plans, BMW said that the release timing of a hydrogen vehicle range will be entirely subject to worldwide demand and the mass-adoption of the fuel source.
At the moment, hydrogen power’s biggest disadvantage is infrastructure and BMW say that serious development of supply infrastructures would need to take place in many countries before the fuel source is viable.
Despite the above, hydrogen power has been gaining increased traction over the last few years, mainly due to the fuel source having refuel times and ranges similar to petrol and diesel cars and its consistent performance regardless of season.
Creating zero emissions, the hydrogen fuel cell works by converting hydrogen and oxygen into electricity which can subsequently be used to power a motor. Thanks to the base chemicals involved the only byproduct of the chemical reaction is water.
The i Hydrogen NEXT Concept is being used by BMW to demonstrate that they can effectively integrate the technology into existing vehicles in the range. In order to set the i Hydrogen NEXT concept apart from a standard X5, BMW have slightly modified the design so that it highlights the futuristic nature of the vehicle.
With the increased importance of alternate fuel sources being at the forefront of automotive progression, it’ll certainly be interesting to see whether hydrogen fuel cells begin to become adopted in the mainstream. What do you think of BMW’s i Hydrogen NEXT concept car? We’d like to read your opinions on Facebook, Linkedin or Instagram.