During a dedicated technology workshop at the Miramas proving grounds in southern France, BMW has unveiled one of its latest prototypes powered by hydrogen fuel cells, scheduled to also be tested on public roads.
The largest luxury automaker in the world, BMW AG, has been keen on expanding its green credentials since first putting on the roads the fully-electric battery-powered i3 model back in 2013, introducing lately a series of technology concept demonstrators. The group’s eDrive technology will soon also include a BMW 2 Series Active Tourer with plug-in hybrid drive system (still in testing), while it also brings some enhancements to the old and reliable internal combustion engine – such as direct water injection for higher efficiency at performance levels. But more importantly, the automaker is showing off its latest progress in terms of hydrogen fuel cell technology, which has been a preoccupation for the company for the past 15 years. The automaker also partnered with Toyota – a leader in the segment – since 2013.
Now BMW wants to deliver “a technically mature, customer-ready vehicle sometime after 2020,” according to Matthias Klietz, head of powertrain research. “By around 2025 to 2030, we expect fuel cell cars to have an established presence, but there are challenges that remain, like building the refueling infrastructure.” At Miramas the company demonstrated its progress on a 5-Series Gran Turismo prototype that used the joint collaboration technology. The drive towards fuel cells is an integral part of the group’s effort to invest billions of dollars in the creation of alternative powertrains that would improve fuel usage and help it meet stricter emission rules around the world.