BMW i8 Based Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Prototype Research Vehicle Unveiled
One of the leading car makers when it comes to showcasing concept vehicles, BMW banks high on the design and characteristics of their concepts when launching a product in the future. After recently displaying its direct water injection technology at the Innovation Days technology showcase, the Bavarian auto giant has revealed its all-new i8-based hydrogen fuel cell prototype. The yet to be named car, was developed back in 2012. The hydrogen fuel-cell prototype has been tested extensively by BMW for conducting experiments on the hydrogen fuel-cell technology. According to the company’s research and development chief, Klaus Froehlich, the German luxury carmaker is planning to implement the discussed technology in its production vehicles by the end of this decade (2020).
Though based on the i8, the prototype differs from the same in many ways including a new look at the front comprising of squared-off kidney grilles and sharper headlights. This very look will most likely feature on future BMW models as well. The vehicle is highly aerodynamic as the overall shape was only finalized after spending a great deal of time in the wind tunnel. The larger air intakes at the front helps in cooling an array of front-mounted radiators.
BMW hasn’t revealed the exact details yet, but the prototype most probably houses the fuel-cells at the same place as the i8’s 1.5-litre three-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine. The fuel-cell is powered from oxygen and cryogenically-stowed hydrogen that is placed inside a tank placed low in the centre of the vehicle.
Power is sent to the rear wheels through an electric motor, which uses electricity generated by the fuel-cell. The fuel cell churns out a total of 242 HP and the car is very green, emitting only water. Hydrogen is supplied to the cell from a tank which is mounted between the front and rear axle and is cryogenically-stored at an industry-standard pressure of 700 bar. The BMW Fuel-Cell Prototype can cover more than 500 km on a full tank of fuel.
BMW i8 Fuel Cell Research Vehicle – (Photo Gallery)