BMW’s first mass-produced electric car, the all-electric BMW i3, is proving extremely popular among EV fans and plug-in converts. Thanks to its cavernous interior, unique styling and sporty 7.2 second 0-60 mph time, the BMW i3 mixes BMW’s well-known no-compromise attitude towards premium car design with enough quirkiness to make it stand out from the crowd.
For those who are worried its 81 miles of EPA-approved range issn’t enough, you can even buy its sibling, the BMW i3 REx, complete with a tiny 600cc range-extending gasoline engine for emergencies.
But according to Australian website Motoring (via GreenCarReports) the luxury German automaker isn’t going to stop there when it comes to BMW i3 drivetrain choices: it wants to make a hydrogen fuel cell version too.
The source of Motoring‘s claim is non other than Craig Scott, Toyota USA’s advanced vehicle boss. While Scott works for Toyota, not BMW, the two companies have been working together for many years on many areas, including developing and improving electric vehicle battery technology, new engine designs and yes, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
Toyota, whose upcoming production fuel cell sedan — rumoured to be called the Toyota Mirai — will be debuting its hydrogen fuel cell technology in the mid-sized sedan next year. But in order to make Toyota’s investment pay off, Scott strongly hinted that BMW will be getting the technology too.
The BMW i3 is apparently the prime candidate.
From an engineering point of view, the BMW i3’s extremely strong and lightweight chassis — made from carbon-fibre reinforced plastic — makes it ideal for modification to include a build-in carbon-fibre compressed hydrogen tank.
Moreover, its light weight translates to excellent energy efficiency, regardless of the power source being used to drive it, while the space liberated by replacing its existing 22 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack with a fuel cell stack would have zero impact on the car’s current interior dimensions.
For die-hard EV fans and hydrogen skeptics alike however, the thought of one of the most popular electric vehicles to launch this year being turned into a costly fuel cell vehicle may be too much to bear.
Would you want a hydrogen fuel cell BMW i3? And how much do you think it would cost? Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.
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