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Rumor: BMW planning i3 fuel cell

Rumors | July 31st, 2014 by 15
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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 …

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.

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“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.

BMW is no stranger of hydrogen-fueled cars. The company has previously shown a 7 Series Hydrogen and a 1 Series Hydrogen-powered.

  • CDspeed

    I’d doubt it will amount to much, besides why invest in a new fuel that will cost billions to deploy, when the electrical infrastructure is already in place. If you can read this you have access to electricity, which means you can fuel an electric car, its that simple.

    • Le Roi

      Au contraire – electric vehicles will never have the range of fuel cell electric vehicles. They will remain as city cars and not inter-urban cars. You can’t fuel an electric vehicle in 3-5 minutes either. And besides, an electric car will provide a couple of hours of backup power for the typical home. A fuel cell car? How does a week or more sound? Schooled.

      • CDspeed

        So the Tesla Model S is only a city car despite being able to be driven from LA to New York? And despite all the coming advancements in battery technology, it won’t mean a thing, and electric cars will stay the same as they are now? Yeah right, and I’m not using an iPad, I’m using my first computer with Windows 95, and it’s 28.8 dial-up modem because computing didn’t advance Lol! Don’t school people if you never graduated.

        • Le Roi

          Battery technology hasn’t advanced much in the last hundred years. So comparing it to the progress in computers is absolutely nonsensical. The highway range on a Tesla is not that great. This means you’ll be pulling over for a charge more often. Which is great if you like drinking coffee for 20-30 minutes every hour on the hour. Not my idea of a road trip, dude.

          • CDspeed

            I wasn’t comparing it to computers, it was merely an example of technology advancing. And yes battery technology hasn’t moved much, that is until the technology revolution we are currently experiencing. Why do you think electric cars are back on the road, it has basically come out of our advancing portable devices. And coffee every hour, it takes one hour to drive over 200 miles give or take, and after 200 miles you wouldn’t want to stretch your legs, use the restroom, and maybe get something to eat? You’d drive straight through from LA to New York, and never eat? You’d drive a 200 mile trip in less then an hour, and stop for nothing but fuel, because that’s what your saying. And how often do people take road trips, the average working person puts more miles on their cars on their daily commute then they do driving to Grandma’s house.

          • CDspeed
          • Le Roi

            There’s a big difference between a handheld device and a vehicle. But thanks for the link. Here’s my take: 20% of the time was spent charging – that’s 12 min for every hour on the road; only 3 legs out of 25 achieved over 200 miles – that’s 12%. I’d rather look good in a Tesla in the city, than pulled over by the side of the highway in one, out of juice. Fact: I see a lot of Tesla owners experiencing the latter. In my opinion the family garage of the future will have both an EV and an FCEV. The solution will involve a basket of technologies. CNG, LPG and LNG will also play a role.

          • CDspeed

            Seeing Teslas on the side of the road could simply be a new electric car owner making a mistake. It’s not like people in gasoline powered cars don’t make the same mistake. And I’m not trying to predict the future, no one knows what technology will ultimately replace gasoline, we might not see the end result in our lifetimes. But we already have electricity, whereas access to hydrogen is still limited. And batteries are evolving faster then ever before, and we’re going have to transition into a new fuel type, electric cars have time to evolve, and will cost less.

          • Le Roi

            I hope so. But I believe the new fuel type will be hydrogen. California, Germany, Japan, and the Scandinavian countries are already building hydrogen stations. Lots of press releases out there confirming this.

          • CDspeed

            Have you test driven any electric cars? If you haven’t definitely go give them a try, I’ve driven many of the current crop of electric cars, and two range extended cars, the Chevy Volt, and Fisker Karma. They are a lot of fun, I’ve had the Tesla Model S up over 100 miles per hour a couple of times.

          • Le Roi

            Yes, I’ve driven the Leaf and Volt – the latter as a temporary work commuter for about 2,000 miles – filled up once. Felt great to be in electric mode but nice to have the security of a tank of gas. Drove virtually all of the FCEV models out there including one on a test track in Europe at 160 kph. Since they’re equally electric drive trains the acceleration is neck-snapping. I just can’t get past the convenience of 3-5 min fill ups and 700-800 km on a full tank of hydrogen!

          • RPrior

            Hear, Hear At least twice a year I travel intercontinental & non-stop across a distance 2,400 kilometers in a 24 hr period. A Tesla would be like Aesop’s Hare in the Tortoise and the Hare fable.

            The Tesla S certainly has some capabilities but long distance travel isn’t one of them – even with superfast charging stations – (the stress of uncertainty – am I going to reach the next charging station – or not would be intolerable).

            My criteria is for a car that can cruise at 100mph and have a range between fill-ups of over 500 miles at such cruising speed.

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