Rumor: BMWi Developing Hydrogen Powered BMW i5

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.

From Autocar:

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.

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  • Nick Dawson

    We all know that hydrogen-electric fuel cell technology is the future, so BMW is wise to get on with it. However, more than a decade ago, some auto analysts said that BMW, amongst others, was unlikely to survive, long-term, without a partner and would either be taken over, or would need to merge with another automaker. The question is, which one?

    This year, BMW Group has enjoyed its best ever year and should exceed two million vehicle sales for the first time. VW Group has also enjoyed its best year, and is on target to exceed ten million vehicle sales. Despite this, profits are not as good as VW would like, and it is well known that it has been in talks with Fiat-Chrysler regarding a takeover. According to auto analysts at ISI in London, VW’s production in 2020 should hit 11.8 million. With Fiat-Chrysler rolled into VW’s production system, this would hit 15.84 million!

    In the meantime, sources say that the much anticipated i9 ‘Supercar’ due in 2016, is now more likely to be badged i8S, and is code-named M100, acknowledging BMW’s forthcoming centenary and the contribution the M division is making to its development. M engineers are looking at replacing the 1.5 triple with either BMW’s twin-turbo two-litre four plus an electric motor, or its latest three-litre six plus a smaller electric motor. In either case, 500bhp+ would be on tap, enough to propel the i8S from 0-60mph in 3.5 secs. A 9-speed dual clutch is said to replace the six-speed auto in the i8.

  • Herr26

    It is inevitable that fuel cell technology will feature within the BMWi Sub-Brand. But to showcase the technology a concept is in conception for early 2015 which provides the next vision for the BMW Gran Turismo series, which will lead out with the 5er first. Utilising the next generation architecture from the 35up matrix the new car will get a slight stretch as it will be based on the China only Li model. The slight stretch allows designers to simplify the proportions allowing a more direct 5dr Coupe shape far more streamlined than the current car. Heavily influenced by the latest VFL Concept in its style and interior design including individual rear seating and first class ambience which is retained from the current F07. It will provide the first look at Fuel Cell technology.