BMW's Upcoming Hydrogen SUV to Have 374 HP, Be Refilled in 3 Minutes

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【Summary】Electric vehicles aren’t the only thing that BMW’s working on, as the German brand recently released a few details on its upcoming hydrogen-powered SUV.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Apr 04, 2020 5:00 AM PT
BMW's Upcoming Hydrogen SUV to Have 374 HP, Be Refilled in 3 Minutes

BMW's focus may be on electrified vehicles, as the German automaker recently announced the upcoming i4 sedan and the iNext SUV. But BMW isn't giving up on another clean way to power vehicles. The automaker has plans to introduce a new hydrogen-electric vehicle in 2022, which is shaping up to be an SUV. And now, BMW has given us all a look at the upcoming powertrain and some more details to look forward to.

How The Complex Powertrain Works

Jointly developed with Toyota, the hydrogen-powered SUVs will mostly be electric cars with two 700-bar tanks that store a combined total of 13.2 pounds of hydrogen. A fuel cell is also included in the mix to produce electricity, while the rest of the components include an electric motor and what BMW refers to as a peak power battery. The way the system works is a little complicated. The electric motor receives electricity from the hydrogen and oxygen, with the peak power battery acting as a way to provide a bit of temporary performance.

"The electric converter located underneath the fuel cell adapts the voltage level to that of both the electric powertrain and the peak power battery, which is fed by brake energy as well as the energy from the fuel cell," states BMW.

Altogether, the powertrain is good for 170 horsepower, which isn't that much oomph. When the overboost function engages, power skyrockets to 374 hp. That's more we like it and more fitting for a BMW.

BMW believes that fill-ups can take between three or four minutes, which is one area where hydrogen-powered cars have a massive advantage over pure EVs. The automaker didn't put forth any overall range figures, but hydrogen tech is advancing nearly as quickly as EV tech, so we're sure it will be competitive when the SUV makes it to the market.

Why Invest In Hydrogen?

When the hydrogen-powered vehicle does come out, the main issue will be finding a hydrogen fuel station. The U.S. still hasn't adopted hydrogen as a fuel source for cars, so there aren't that many fuel stations in the country. The only real state where hydrogen cars are a viable option is in California. Still, BMW's plowing ahead with hydrogen powertrains.

"Although the BMW group has no doubt as to the long-term potential of fuel-cell powertrain systems, it will be some time before the company offers its consumers a production car powered by hydrogen fuel-cell technology," said the automaker. "This is primarily due to the fact that the right framework conditions are not yet in place."

BMW chose a good partner with Toyota for its hydrogen vehicle, as the Japanese brand has been one of the few ones to look into developing hydrogen vehicles alongside electrified powertrains. Toyota is also one of the few brands that hasn't introduced a fully electric vehicle, betting on hybrids and hydrogen cars as the future.

This isn't BMW's first time around with hydrogen. The automaker has been working on a hydrogen powertrain for decades and revealed the I Hydrogen Next Fuel-Cell concept last September.

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