The BMW Group will pilot a small series of the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT fuel cell vehicle from 2022, based on the current BMW X5 and equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell e-drive. The BMW Group is building on its experience with fifth-generation e-drives to develop this vehicle.
The Lightweight Construction and Technology Centre (LuTZ) in Landshut plays a key part in this by producing essential components for the hydrogen-electric drive train and supplying them for installation of the fuel cell system in Munich.
The production location in Lower Bavaria will manufacture the stack housing made of light metal, which holds the fuel cells, and the media end plate made of plastic and light metal castings, which creates an air and watertight seal around the stack housing.
“Media” refers here to the hydrogen, oxygen and coolant that are channelled into the housing through the media end plate to initiate the chemical reaction in the fuel cells. These complex components are specifically designed to withstand prolonged contact with hydrogen.
The fuel cell system of the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT is continuously fed with hydrogen from CFRP tanks and generates up to 125 kW of electrical power for the electric motor mounted on the rear axle. Two 700-bar tanks, which together hold six kilograms of hydrogen, provide extensive range in all weather conditions and can be refilled in just three to four minutes.
The electric motor in the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT is the same highly-integrated fifth-generation e-drive used for the first time in the BMW iX3. The high-voltage battery that sits above the e-drive serves as a performance buffer and provides additional dynamics for acceleration. The drive train system delivers a total output of 275 kW (374 hp).
Having the Lightweight Construction and Technology Center here at the site gives us a real advantage over our competitors. We have innovative capabilities and industrialisation expertise; we are able to develop strategically crucial innovations ourselves and, at the same time, we can reliably assess external partners and suppliers.— Dr Wolfgang Blümlhuber, head of Technology Driving Dynamics, Light Metal Casting in the Purchasing and Supplier Network
BMW recently showcased LuTZ’ capabilities on a “Hydrogen Technology Day” visited by Bavarian Minister of Economic Affairs Hubert Aiwanger and BMW Group Board of Management Member Dr Andreas Wendt.
I am convinced hydrogen technology will gain traction – and I am committed to making Bavaria a high-tech location for hydrogen technology. This is a constructive way of responding to the climate debate. The focus now is on building a hydrogen infrastructure at national and international level, from production to application.—Minister Aiwanger
Here at our Lightweight Construction and Technology Center, we are creating important innovations for the mobility of the future. We are developing highly complex components tailored to the demands of our cars. In this way, the location is making a vital contribution to the company’s transformation towards e-mobility. More than ever, our in-house component production in Landshut serves as an innovation driver.—Dr Andreas Wendt
The BMW Group views hydrogen vehicles as best-suited for customers who frequently drive long distances, require a great deal of flexibility or do not have regular access to electric charging infrastructure. Refueling takes just a few minutes, as it does with conventional fuels. Vehicles that run on hydrogen produced using renewable energy can make an important contribution to meeting climate goals.
However, the conditions needed to be able to offer BMW Group customers a hydrogen vehicle are not yet in place. Further commitment is necessary—particularly with regard to the hydrogen filling infrastructure and requirements throughout the entire energy system, where green hydrogen must be available in sufficient quantities and produced at competitive prices for individual mobility.
In Germany, the European Union and other major regions of the world, lawmakers have recognised the significance of green hydrogen for the energy system of the future. The European Union has made hydrogen technology a focal point with the “Green Deal”. Major Asian markets, such as Japan, Korea and China, have expressed a strong interest in establishing infrastructure for hydrogen vehicles. The conditions for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will develop differently around the world, BMW said.