During a driving event at the Miramas proving grounds, in southern France, the german car maker has unveiled two prototypes running on hydrogen. The first was a 5 Series Gran Turismo and the second a i8.

Both cars had an electric motor (developing 180 kW/245 hp), power electronics and high voltage battery for interim energy storage, a fuel cell and hydrogen storage in the form of a tunnel tank between the front and rear axle. BMW is working on industry standard 700 bar CGH2 vessel technology and cryogenic pressure vessel technology (CCH2) patented by the BMW Group for storing gaseous hydrogen at low temperature and 350 bar pressure.

Fuel cell cars from BMW offer an operating range over 500 kilometres (more than 300 miles).

The BMW Group has been conducting research and development work in the field of hydrogen fuel cell drive systems for over 15 years now. And a collaboration with the Toyota Motor Corporation launched in 2013 has further accelerated progress towards its goal of finalising approved components for a Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) by 2020. The fuel cell, which converts hydrogen into electric energy and water vapour, enables locally emission-free driving laced with the dynamics customers expect of a BMW – plus long distance capability and short refuelling times. It therefore represents the ideal next layer of BMW eDrive technology.

The german car maker may apply this technology at 24 Hours of Le Mans race, before launching a first model serie at the end of the decade.