Back in July, BMW invited us to Miramas, France to see for the first time their hydrogen fuel cell technology. While at the secret facility in Southern France, we also had the unique opportunity to test drive a 5 Series GT equipped with the innovative hybrid technology. The test vehicle was based on a BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo and uses a 245hp electric motor and high-voltage battery, similar to the ones used in BMW’s eDrive and i Division plug-in hybrids. A tunnel tank, used to store hydrogen, is mounted in between the two axles.
At the time, BMW said the cooperation with Toyota aims to have an initial group of approved components by the year 2020, though FCEV vehicles depend on the development of a hydrogen fuel structure. Therefore the development of the hydrogen fuel cell continues and these new spy photos come to confirm that.
A 5 Series GT hydrogen fuel cell prototype was spotted on the road with the usual camo tape likely hiding some of the CFRP components we saw on the prototype this summer.
The core fuel cell stacks are a Toyota technology, with BMW supplying the new hydrogen tank, electric drive train and high voltage battery. A fuel cell stack should last around 5,000 hours or 200,000 km (125,000 miles).
Using hydrogen fuel cells to power electric motors, BMW aims for the kind of power and performance their customers are used to with incredible efficiency and no charge times. The technology is also aimed at cars larger in size, like those 5 Series and above models which can go up to 500 km (310 miles) on a single refill.