We’ve reported on the idea of the i5 in the past. And we’ve reported that BMW’s scrapped hydrogen research is set to come back to life with the help of Toyota. Now all these pieces appear to be coming together. According to Autocar BMW is set to use a revised version of the hydrogen-electric fuel cell system used in the Toyota FCV in a future product likely called the i5.
Company sources say the race is on between the German car makers to get a hydrogen fuel cell car on the market, now that Japanese companies Honda and Toyota have taken the initiative.
The powertrain sharing is the first stage of a BMW-Toyota joint venture aimed at lowering development costs and providing improved economies of scale on advanced alternative drive systems shared between the two manufacturers. A second project, to build a rear-drive sports car platform, is also said to be well under way.
Is BMW getting the best of both worlds here? It’s massively defraying the costs of hybrid and hydrogen research and engineering awhile offering every conceivable power plants to consumers. This type of fragmentation will be increasingly important as the differences grow in efficiency regulations from region to region. It also allows the independent BMW to compete against behemoths like VW.