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Friday, July 3, 2015

This Weird Looking BMW i8 Runs on Hydrogen


BMW i8 Hydrogen

Just when you thought the BMW i8 couldn’t look any more futuristic, this prototype comes along. It’s not some post-apocalyptic preview of BMW’s to come, but rather, it’s a hydrogen fuel cell test mule based on the current BMW i8.
At BMW’s “Group Innovation Days” event in France, the Bavarian automaker pulled out all the stops with loads of new technology. Form a water-injected BMW M4 to a 2-Series Active Tourer, to the hydrogen i8 you see before you.

The initial concept was created in 2012 as an i8 test mule. This was before Toyota and BMW inked a partnership for alternative fuel options in the same year. Using many of the components you’d find on the i8 today, the hydrogen prototype is light, and has an estimated range of 300 miles while storing hydrogen at 350-bar pressure.

BMW i8 Hydrogen 2

As for performance—it’s able to put out a little more oomph than its Toyota Mirai counterpart. Output sits at 268-horsepower and 0-60 mph is managed in around six seconds. Flat out, you’ll be able to get this BMW up to 124 mph, which isn’t bad for a hydrogen fuel cell car.

While performance may not be a huge selling point for enthusiasts, efficiency is. The fuel cell delivers zero emissions, while returning the aforementioned 300 mile range. Refueling only takes about five minutes, too—if you can find service station. Infrastructure for hydrogen vehicles continues to be a challenge as automakers bring these eco-friendly vehicles to market.

Right now, the i8 hydrogen fuel cell concept is just that, a concept. BMW admits that we’ll likely see a more mainstream fuel cell vehicle—something like the 5 Series—before we see a high-performance hydrogen i8.