During a technology preview in Miramas, France, BMW demonstrated a i8-based hydrogen fuel cell research vehicle. We were told this hydrogen i8 prototype was actually built in 2012 – before BMW signed a collaboration deal with Toyota – and is one of the very first i8 test mules made.
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This i8 test vehicle gets a tunnel tank mounted in the middle of the car, capable of storing hydrogen at 350-bar pressure, with an estimated range of over 300 miles. It runs from 0-62mph in around six seconds, and tops out at 124mph.
We can see that the hydrogen fuel-cell i8 boasts some aerodynamic modifications for a more teardrop-shaped silhouette. The front fascia has a new angular interpretation of the traditional kidney grille and fully integrated headlights. Two large air intakes are used to feed air to a series of front-mounted radiators.
The rear end forgoes the floating, layered taillights, basically a more conventional and simplistic approach to design. The fuel stack is placed in the rear where the standard i8 has the 1.5 liter three-cylinder engine.
BMW says its hydrogen fuel cell prototype has recently been taken out of service after being used extensively in the initial development of hydrogen fuel cells.
Here is the first video showing the car in action: