Currently reading: BMW's radical hydrogen hybrid
Hi-tech powertrain could feature in next-gen Minis and FWD BMWs
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2 mins read
12 April 2010

BMW has unveiled a new hydrogen hybrid drivetrain that could be used by the next-generation Mini and the front-wheel-drive BMWs planned for 2014.

The system combines a conventional front-drive powertrain along with a hydrogen fuel cell, electricity-storing supercapacitors and an electrically driven rear axle.

See the artist's rendering showing the BMW tech

BMW engineers have already built functioning prototypes based on 1-series hatchbacks converted to front-wheel drive.

Company engineers say the “fuel cell hybrid technology” is designed to allow a vehicle to travel emissions-free in city centres, a feat beyond the ability of regular petrol-electric hybrids.

This drivetrain will fit into today’s Mini Clubman, making it likely that it could become an option for the front-wheel-drive BMW and Mini models that are at least four metres long.

The fuel-cell hybrid has not yet been given the green light by BMW bosses, however, and the firm has to be certain that sufficient sales would be generated to ensure financial viability.

It also needs to decide whether hydrogen fuel pumps will become available in most large cities.

The system works by having two independent methods of driving the car. In the prototype, a conventional transverse Mini drivetrain powers the front wheels. Mounted behind the engine is the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU), a slim fuel cell that develops just 5kW.

The electricity generated by the APU is supplied to the capacitors, which are mounted in the centre tunnel. They drive the 82kW electric motor on the rear axle.

When in electric mode the car is driven by the rear wheels. When in petrol mode the car is driven by the front wheels. The two powerplants can work together, though, to deliver short bursts of high acceleration.

BMW says that it can see a future when certain areas of city centres will demand vehicles that have zero local CO2 emissions and zero levels of pollutants.

 

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Giom37 12 April 2010

Re: BMW's radical hydrogen hybrid

Rayman89 wrote:
Personally I don't see hydrogen as a way forward, like i mentioned before, to have the same level of performance as petrol, you will need a *** load of hydrogen. I think companies should be more focused on biofuels really and please don't tell me that will affect the food supply of the world when scientists are complaining we're getting obese. Clearly theres plenty of food and enough space to grow ethonal and methonal

All new technologies need to start off somewhere. If we had to stop working on the computer, because no one will build an entire room in his house to do maths in, we would have never had the pc.

No, I really think that we should look at each and every alternative method, and see it as the pc of the future.

Rayman89 12 April 2010

Re: BMW's radical hydrogen hybrid

Personally I don't see hydrogen as a way forward, like i mentioned before, to have the same level of performance as petrol, you will need a shit load of hydrogen. I think companies should be more focused on biofuels really and please don't tell me that will affect the food supply of the world when scientists are complaining we're getting obese. Clearly theres plenty of food and enough space to grow ethonal and methonal

HiltonH 12 April 2010

Re: BMW's radical hydrogen hybrid

Rayman89 wrote:
the amount of energy needed to produce the hydrogen doesn't even make it carbon neutral
All the German companies I've talked to think that wind turbines sited at the coast should be used to 'crack' sea water into hydrogen. They see it as the best way of utilising an inconsistent form of renewable energy as well as the best way to make hydrogen.

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