BMW i5 rumored to be hydrogen-fuelled

Rumors | November 17th, 2014 by 10
bmw i5 photoshop 750x500

According to Autocar, the long-time rumored BMW i5 might be using a version of the hydrogen-electric fuel cell system used in the Toyota FCV. BMW …

According to Autocar, the long-time rumored BMW i5 might be using a version of the hydrogen-electric fuel cell system used in the Toyota FCV.

BMW aims to be one of the first automakers to bring a hydrogen fuel call car to market and has experimented in the past with such concepts. BMW and Toyota first announced their cooperation on hydrogen fuel cells back in 2013.

By joining the BMW i sub-brand existing lineup – i3 and i8 – the new BMW i5 will provide a third alternative-energy vehicle to a new demographic.

bmw i5 photoshop 750x356

The i5 will also ensure BMW has an answer to a hydrogen fuel cell-powered Mercedes-Benz B-class, which comes to market in 2017.  Audi will also unveil next week a hydrogen-powered A7.

The advantages of a hydrogen-fuel BMW i5 over a fully electric-vehicle is the ability to refuel quicker versus the 30 minutes plus recharging of an EV. Fuel cells take in hydrogen and oxygen, run them through a catalyst and spit out spare electrons (electricity) and water – and, depending on the source of the hydrogen, some other emissions. The choice of catalyst influences the efficiency of the fuel cell and the operating temperatures (which generally range from hot to extremely hot). A single fuel cell wont do the trick – so they are combined into stacks to provide the appropriate amount of power.

SEE ALSO: BMW 1 Series FWD Hydrogen Hybrid Concept

From an electric vehicle perspective, the fuel cell replaces the batteries. That means their energy density has to be better (or they have to be substantially cheaper) than existing or near-horizon battery technology in order to be useful. There is also the issue of how best to supply the hydrogen. Containing a given mass of hydrogen is much more difficult than say a similar mass of gasoline (but the hydrogen, believe it or not is safer than the gas – once pressurization is taken out of the equation).

Meeting crash testing requirements plays an important role in the use of hydrogen-fuel cells so BMW will have to find the right package to place in the i5.

10 responses to “BMW i5 rumored to be hydrogen-fuelled”

  1. CDspeed says:

    I’d be very dissapointed if they did, if they don’t build a Tesla competitor, and they build a hydrogen car instead, then they never really intended to give electric cars a chance. Hydrogen is a scheme to keep gas stations open in the future, and will only continue the headache of going to fueling stations, and paying gasoline like bills. My i3 has been mostly charged at home, pulling into the usual dilapidated gas station, and paying thirty to fifty dollars is not an issue. And charging as opposed to fueling does reduce one of the stresses of car ownership. The growing trend of upcoming generations that are straying away from car ownership may turn around, if ownership was made easier, charging an electric car is as easy as charging your smart phone. I think it’s the best way forward if automakers want to continue on as they are 20 to 25 years from now. Electric cars will be able to fill up as fast as gasoline, and drive just as far as it advances over the next few years. As batteries advance we will be transitioning off gasoline, gasoline use will not come to a sudden end. So as we use less and less, batteries will get better with the transition. But will we give it time, or throw it away, and start paying for hydrogen…..no one can say for sure.

  2. Freepat 75014 says:

    I think game is over already, so another mistake from BMW will change nothing here, I’m afraid. Too bad they seam to be loosing their last chance here, if ever that was one (I never liked nor trusted their iGadgets range that never targeted their real BMW customers, for main car replacement so far).
    I went to Paris motor Show last month, to make my own opinion on my next PHEV SUV or EV SUV to replace my beloved too old BMW 530DA. I left with the conviction that the 2014 German PHEVs design, inspired by Porsche Panamera eHybrid, now also offered on Cayenne eHybrid, and copied in BMW X5 eDrive concept, and on Mercedes, and on WW/Audi…etc, was a dead-end, interesting nobody within those like me looking for a good PHEV SUV that could still circulate in the core center of Paris tomorrow. Before that I was assuming the future was Tesla-like top gun pure EVs,… but in 10 years, and for now I should better start in 2015 by a PHEV … But they screwed them all, plus Tesla shrunk the time hugely…
    All 2014 German PHEVs are set – pulling nothing – and adding an indigent all electric mode, with # 100HP motor supposed to tract a > 2 Tons car…, and with a # 10KWH battery requiring 2 x charges per day to do my 65KM per day local commutes all electric – hence lasting 5 to 6 years only to burn its # 3K charge/discharge cycles -. This is just meaningless. This approach ends as a sort of electric Turbo for the main ICE engine meant to run all the time, saving little petrol if any at the end, just kidding with EU regulator rules, to limit taxes, with no vision.
    Then I went to Tesla booth. I understood looking at their 3M high map of Europe with their 135KW SuperChargers plans, that by the end of 2015 all my preferred southern Europe vacation places, plus Alps skying places, and my preferred routes to get there, would be covered, allowing me to use a Tesla as unique family car by 2016… instead of in 10 years from now ! So I may not even need a PHEV SUV in between any more…
    Only way out of that TESLA trap for the Germans would be to speed up their all electric drive trains based high end SUV and Sedan cars plans, competitive with Tesla’s. And since Germans don’t yet have a > 85KWH battery, they could start with 30KWH PHEV models set with an ICE Range Extrender (Non-tracting pure generator) that Tesla will never add… to create an interim segment. That good PHEV SUV option for BMW was meant to be the i5, since X5 eDrive concept was on the wrong Electric Turbo route.
    Considering Tesla Model X will come out in 2nd half of 2015, likely with new 110KWH models added early 2016 thanks to Tesla MegaFactory meant to offer +30% capacity for same price by then, I just decided to save more money, increase my budget to €80K instead of €76K so far, and extend my old BMW 530DA by an extra year, so I can forget petrol in my car forever as soon as in 2016 !
    I read Porsche plans to dash the Macan eHybrid (Planned on same wrong eHybrid mode as Cayenne eHybrid, so finally dashed by me too) and make a Pajun full EV … in 2017 competitive with Tesla Model S.. while they should have started by an SUV, plus not mentioning a comparable 135KW SuperChargers network, while Tesla uses a proprieritary plug and its charges are free for life… for Tesla Model S & X users (Without Supercharger and competitive EV will be useless !).I think the Germans missed it all, and they are done. Within 5 years Tesla will have taken their Market, before they understand what is happening.

    • Levi says:

      I wouldn’t be so sure. Both Toyota has sold their Tesla shares. EV working yet. Battery technology has not had any revolution. Just look at iPhone.

    • Levi says:

      I wouldn’t be so sure. Both Toyota has sold their Tesla shares. EV working yet. Battery technology has not had any revolution. Just look at iPhone.

      • Freepat 75014 says:

        You can believe that. But me voting with my hard earned money, I’ll choose TESLA Right in 2016. And only reason I did not put a deposit already to réserve a Model X, is that I would like to start direct with next+30% # 110kwh models… And yet I can’t réserve them.. So I wait for TESLA to start their Gogafactory and announce them at same price as initial 85kwh models… Hopefully.
        On TESLA Supercharger plans, the average distance between Superchargers Seams 200 to 400 km. So I would Prefer 110kwh models delivering # 600km of range, better than # 450km with current 85kwh models. ..

        • Red Sage says:

          Love your reasoning, as I personally predict Tesla Motors will likely have something like a 115 kWh to 135 kWh battery pack for Model S and Model X by 2017 at the latest. But keep in mind, it is not possible to specify any details about the Model X you would reserve at this time. The Reservation money is fully refundable. So if you have the funds in hand now, it is best to put it on the line, so that you can have a place in line, to either accept or decline a purchase, once the final European specifications are revealed. Otherwise, you may find yourself waiting until 2017 for delivery if you don’t decide to reserve prior to 2016. A Reservation is essentially a right to first refusal.

      • Red Sage says:

        Please note that Toyota sold shares that were worth several hundred million dollars… that they bought with the same money they got from Tesla Motors for purchasing the NUMMI plant… which was money that Toyota had invested in Tesla Motors to begin with… So basically, over the course of four or five years, they made no less than five times their money back, and probably a whole lot more.

  3. johnbl says:

    Oh how can BMW be so mistaken..they will waste time and money which should be used to improve clean and efficient BEV technology. Sad commentary on their management.

  4. […] rumormill churns out new info on the BMW i5. The long-time rumored midsize electric car has been mentioned before in the same sentence with the […]

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