V ten years ago, BMW ended a field test with hydrogen propulsion. Back then, the Hydrogen-7 fleet was still burning hydrogen in V12 engines from the 760i. Now BMW has announced a hydrogen car with fuel cell in X5 dress for 2025.
At a round table on the sidelines of an event, BMW Development Board Member Klaus Fröhlich said in June 2019: “We are also working on hydrogen vehicles that are in Otherwise drive like BEVs (battery electric vehicles). We are working on a small series of X5 models that will be fueled with hydrogen. Together with Toyota, we will bring this technology to the point by 2025 where it can be brought onto the market in a cost-effective way for the masses. We don't talk about it that much, but we're working on it ”.
What remains of the hydrogen burners is tank technology
For small series With the 7s of the E38 and E60 series, BMW was able to gather know-how about hydrogen tanks, but not about fuel cells. Because the sedans had internal combustion engines that could work with both gasoline and hydrogen. The performance was only 260 hp - little for a V12 with a displacement of 6.0 liters. BMW only put the cars on the road in small series, some for prominent users. In 2009, the Munich-based company collected the vehicles again and said goodbye to the hydrogen drive for the time being.
No cooperation between BMW and Daimler
Currently, Mercedes has a hydrogen car with the GLC F-Cell in a leasing Program launched with a small series. However, the GLC F-Cell is a fuel cell plug-in hybrid. That means that he has a battery of around 20 kWh for hisElectric drive on board, which can also be charged by cable; For longer distances without charging stops, a fuel cell supplies the battery or the electric motor with electricity.
BMW's re-entry into hydrogen propulsion is also via the fuel cell. As at Daimler, an SUV like the X5 should be considered as a vehicle concept: firstly, SUVs are still very popular on the market, secondly, they are not exactly economical, so that the effect of the alternative drive is particularly great here, and thirdly, offer them they have sufficient installation space for the comparatively space-consuming technology. However, Fröhlich rejected a cooperation with Daimler even for electric cars: “We will not enter into an architectural cooperation with Daimler. That's for sure. The reason is: A platform cooperation means the exchange of hundreds of people. But what we will do: We will significantly expand our purchasing cooperation. We still see many possibilities there. Not only to save money through higher allocation volumes or by sharing development costs, but especially through the standardization of functions such as in autonomous driving ”. On July 4, Daimler and BMW also announced that they would be working together on the development of autonomous driving.
Cooperation with Toyota on fuel cell development
The Munich-based company will get the fuel cell technology however from Toyota. With the Mirai, the Japanese have had a production car with fuel cell drive in their range since 2014. The Korean brand Hyundai has also been on the market with a fuel cell car since 2018. The Nexo is available in Germany for 69,000 euros.
BMW announced its cooperation with Toyota in 2011. It is the source of the new Supra, which is technically closely related to the BMW Z4. In return, BMW receives an insight into fuel cell technology. Regarding the cooperation with Toyota, Fröhlich said: “It's similar to the internal combustion engine: You develop standard fuel cell stacks and we make these as a performance version. This is our job split ”. In 2015 BMW had already shown a test vehicle in a 5 Series GT - as well as in a modified i8.
The prototype had According to BMW, an electric motor with 180 kW /245 PS and a hydrogen storage device in the form of a tunnel tank between the front and rear axles. The tank was designed using industrially standardized 700 bar CGH2 technology, but also used the cryogenic pressure tank technology (CCH2) patented by BMW for storing gaseous hydrogen at low temperature and a pressure of 350 bar. BMW stated a range of more than 500 kilometers. As early as 2015, BMW named fuel cells, housings and ancillary systems the first results of the cooperation between BMW and Toyota on “Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) technology”. On the other hand, BMW developed power electronics and high-voltage batteries as temporary storage from the components of its own electric cars and plug-in hybrids.
Costs delay hydrogen drive
Why is it still like this until the fuel cell BMW takes long? According to the head of development, this is primarily due to the costs: “At the moment, a fuel cell like this still costs around 80,000 euros. But it would have to cost more than 10,000 euros to bring it into volume. So we will need two generations - that is around 2025 - to achieve economies of scale '.
Fröhlich sees another problem in the infrastructure:' On top of that, the hydrogen filling station network is not particularly good for private customers attractive because there are too few petrol stations. There should be 400 in Germany by 2025 '.