BMW begins tests of fuel-cell car developed with Toyota
MIRAMAS, France (Bloomberg) — BMW will testtest is test a vehicle powered by hydrogen fuel cells — developed with Toyota — for the first time on public roads this month as the German automaker looks to expand clean-car offerings after rolling out the battery-powered i3 in 2013.
The company plans “a technically mature, customer-ready vehicle some time after 2020,” Matthias Klietz, head of powertrain research, told journalists at BMW’s testtest is test track here. “By around 2025 to 2030, we expect fuel cell cars to have an established presence, but there are challenges that remain, like building the refueling infrastructure.”
BMW is developing fuel cells with Japanese partner Toyota Motor Corp., and it demonstrated a 5-series Gran Turismo prototype in Miramas on Wednesday that uses the companies’ joint technology. The model is part of the industry’s multibillion-dollar effort to create alternative powering setups and improve fuel use to meet tightening emissions rules.
Fuel cells, which have provided spacecraft with power since the 1960s, produce electricity by reacting hydrogen with air, enabling longer travel than battery-driven vehicles while emitting only water vapor rather than carbon dioxide. Disadvantages include a lack of service stations equipped to replenish the hydrogen gas, and the high cost of rare metals needed for the technology.