Does BMW's i Hydrogen NEXT mean a new fuel cell production model is in the pipeline?

10 September 2019 - 21:36 By AFP Relaxnews
The BMW i Hydrogen NEXT.
The BMW i Hydrogen NEXT.
Image: Supplied

German manufacturer BMW created a sensation by unveiling, in a world premiere in its home territory at Frankfurt's Motor Show, a concept car running on hydrogen. Called the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT, it may foreshadow a production model for 2025, at the earliest.

The prototype unveiled at Frankfurt is in reality based on the X5. It has an electric engine powered by a hydrogen fuel cell which emits nothing other than water as a byproduct. The idea for BMW is to demonstrate that this type of technology can be perfectly adapted to existing models.

BMW's next move would be to launch, in a very limited series, a first run of fuel-cell-equipped X5s by 2022. Thereafter, a brand-new production model could be issued, perhaps by about 2025.

BMW has worked in tandem with Toyota for several years to adapt this technology to everyday use. Toyota is a pioneer in the domain with the Mirai, the very first production vehicle running on hydrogen, which has been available since 2015.

Visitors to BMW's installation at the Motor Show may also discover, in another world premiere, the Concept 4 prefiguring the future Series 4 generation.