After showing its direct water injection technology at the Innovation Days technology showcase, BMW has now pulled the sheets off its i8-based hydrogen fuel-cell prototype. The unnamed BMW i8-based hydrogen fuel-cell prototype was first constructed in 2012 and has since been employed as a test bed on four wheels for the German carmaker to conduct experiments on hydrogen fuel-cell technology. According to the BMW R&D Chief, Klaus Fröhlich, the Bavarian auto giant plans to implement the the put said technology into its production vehicles by the end of 2020.
On the design front, the prototype differs from the BMW i8 by adopting a slightly reworked front fascia, comprised of a squared-off kidney grille design and slimmer headlights – the look is said to preview the design language of future BMW i models. The overall shape has been finalised after hours spent at BMW’s wind tunnel. Larger air intakes in front help channel the airflow towards an array of front-mounted radiators.
BMW hasn’t released exact details but we can say that the prototype houses its fuel stack in the same location where the current i8’s turbocharged 1.5 liter three-cylinder petrol engine is housed. Power for the fuel-cell comes courtesy of cryogenically-stowed hydrogen that is placed inside a tank placed low in the centre of the vehicle and oxygen.
Powering the wheels is a rear-mounted electric motor, which uses electricity generated by the fuel-cell, with water being the only element emitted. From the fuel cell, total power churned out is a whopping 242 hp. The supply of hydrogen is done from a tank mounted between the front and rear axle and is cryogenically-stored at an industry-standard pressure of 700 bar. On a single full tank, the car can cover over 500 km.