BMW has revealed new details about a hybrid powertrain which the company aims to utilise in an all-new SUV model.
Likely to first be used in a pilot vehicle from 2022, the announcement comes as part of the firm’s ‘Power of Choice’ initiative, which looks to offer customers a variety of different powertrains.
It arrives despite many other firms remaining quiet over the subject of hydrogen, with many committing to sole electric or hybrid power instead.
BMW, meanwhile, has been working with Toyota on the development of fuel cell technology since 2013.
BMW has detailed its new fuel cell configuration, however, showcasing it in a model based on the current X5.
Called the ‘I Hydrogen NEXT’, the vehicle produces 368bhp and is can hold six kilograms of hydrogen from a pair of 700-bar tanks. In addition, refilling them can be done in a matter of minutes – eclipsing even the fastest charging times offered by current electric cars.
Klaus Frohlich, member of the board of management of BMW AG, Research and Development, said: “We are convinced that various alternative powertrain systems will exist alongside one another in future, as there is no single solution that addresses the full spectrum of customers’ mobility requirements worldwide.
“The hydrogen fuel cell technology could quite feasibly become the fourth pillar of our powertrain portfolio in the long term.
“The upper-end models in our extremely popular X family would make particularly suitable candidates here.”
BMW has said that this powertrain will suit larger SUVs – as a result of their greater size and weight – and that a prototype model should arrive in 2022. The firm says that “at the earliest” the new powertrain will be available to the wider public in the second part of the decade.
If hydrogen power is to emerge as another zero-emissions alternative, however, there will need to be a major increase in the number of hydrogen filling stations in the UK.