Latest rumor is that by 2016 BMW will launch a hydrogen-fueled version of its i3 with help from Toyota’s fuel cell technology.
A source speaking to motoring.com.au during a recent visit to the US, the Torrance California (USA) based National Manager Advanced Technology Vehicles intimated strongly that BMW would leverage Toyota technology in a fuel cell version of the new-generation i car.
Answering questions regarding the rollout of fuel cell vehicles into the Californian and US markets, Scott stated: “We have a joint partnership with BMW, so we know… where they’re headed.
“It’s a technology development program where we are supposed to be jointly developing a fuel cell powertrain,” Scott explained.
“I’ll just say that BMW had a lot of choices – there are a lot of people who make fuel cells – and we’re very happy they chose us. [But] They’ve never made a fuel cell before, so this is going to be a good experience, I think, for them and probably for us.
“How much joint is involved I’m not sure. But, you know, I think both companies have a lot to learn from each other.”
When asked whether BMW will use Toyota’s series-production fuel cell technology in a fuel cell version of the i3, Scott suggested crash test regulations would play the biggest part of the integration program.
“It’s just going to come down to meeting crash [testing requirements]… So they’re going to have to find a way to package it [Toyota's fuel cell stack in the i3] such that they can meet [safety regulations].
“If there were no regulations, per se, then you would put it anywhere you like. But… there would probably be some reinforcement of the chassis, for some parts, to make sure that there’s no infringement during a high-speed accident. The same thing for the [hydrogen] tanks,” he stated.