BMW’s commitment to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles took center stage this year with the introduction of their inaugural iX5 FCEV. Moreover, the brand has recently initiated a worldwide pilot program designed to demonstrate the technology’s advantages as a viable alternative to battery-powered electric vehicles. But their hydrogen efforts might extend in the future into the world of racing. According to SportsCar365, Peugeot and BMW have expressed their interest in embracing hydrogen fuel as the foundation for a prospective category within the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The talks revolve around two variations of hydrogen-powered cars: vehicles equipped with electric fuel cells and those featuring hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engines. BMW, with its advancements in fuel cell technology with the iX5 Hydrogen, is recognized as being “technology open,” as affirmed by Andreas Roos, the head of BMW Motorsports. Roos says that the hydrogen topic has always being part of the brand’s history and something they are looking into as far as racing technology.
But the BMW Motorsport boss is careful to commit to a direction today. Roos says that it is premature to determine the specific trajectory and effectiveness of hydrogen fuel as a solution. However, BMW is actively exploring its potential and assessing its relevance for their operations. The crucial aspect for BMW lies in maintaining a strong connection between their road cars and motorsports, ensuring that advancements made in one area inform and benefit the other.
That statement comes as no surprise considering BMW’s approach to racing which involves technology transfer to road cars. This is exactly one of the reasons why BMW Motorsport has not come back to the Formula 1 championship. As far as hydrogen-powered racing cars, Roos also says that the ACO’s roadmap calls for a 2030 entry. He further adds that it is imperative to start looking earlier rather than later at this since development does not occur overnight.
The BMW H2R remains ingrained in our memory as another notable hydrogen-powered vehicle from BMW. Unveiled in 2004, this futuristic concept was designed to showcase the possibilities of hydrogen as a fuel for high-performance automobiles. Although it remained a prototype and didn’t progress beyond that stage, the BMW H2R played a pivotal role in establishing the foundation for future hydrogen-powered BMW models.
Currently, BMW Motorsport is focusing on the plug-in hybrid technology within the world of racing. The BMW M Hybrid V8 just scored its first win and it’s marching ahead with their 2024 Le Mans 24 Hours plans.