BMW i Hydrogen Next fuel cell vehicle begins testing on public roads

Other than blue graphics and writing, there’s not much to set it apart from the typical X5.

Compared to regular ol’ battery electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are very rare. There are actually only three major automakers that offer production fuel cell vehicles to the public right now – Honda, Hyundai and Toyota — but that could soon change, according to an announcement Wednesday from BMW.

BMW working on its own I Hydrogen Next Project for the year (it started in 2019), but now the company has begun testing it on European roads with a view to releasing it for public consumption in late 2022 – albeit in smaller numbers.

In case you forgot, the i Hydrogen Next is based on the current generation BMW X5; Only its dinosaur juice-powered Bavarian guts have been replaced with squeaky clean Hydrogen fuel cell from Toyota. BMW claims the electrified drivetrain is good for a respectable 374 horsepower, thanks to its own eDrive technology, the latest generation of which lives on in the upcoming IX EV.

BMW claims this new public testing phase is more about making sure that the existing production X5 architecture and the new Hydrogen bits all play well together, which is essential given that it’s unlikely the German automaker will be on its own. could justify creating an entirely new model. fuel cell platform.

Of course, the elephant in the room with hydrogen is the strength of the filling station network and while, in the US, it is best described as a scattershot at the moment, things are a little less spartan in europe. There are plans for even more hydrogen expansion, so it could be a viable alternative to battery EVs for those who don’t have access to home charging stations.

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