BMW will borrow fuel cell technology from Toyota, use it on the i3

Article by Christian A., on August 1, 2014

We already know that Toyota is shifting its focus from long-range battery EVs to fuel cell vehicles but it appears that things are getting more interesting. BMW will borrow Toyota’s fuel cell technology as it plans to launch a hydrogen-powered version of the i3 by 2016.

These words came from Craig Scott a.k.a. Toyota USA’s advanced vehicle boss, who also added that the Japanese company as a joint partnership with BMW, so they know where they are headed.

Still, the new i3 FCEV will have to meet the crash testing requirements and BMW needs to find a way to package the fuel cell stack. Currently, BMW offers the all-electric version of the i3 with an electric motor that generates 170 hp (125 kW) and 250 Nm of torque (184 lb-ft).

The vehicle accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.3 seconds, while top speed is 93 mph or 150. The electric range of the i3 is 80-100 miles (129-160 km).

BMW offers an optional Range Extender consisting of a 650cc two-cylinder four-stroke petrol engine that develops 34 hp and increases the range to 160-186 miles (257-300 km).

The LifeDrive framework and BMW’s eDrive drive tech provide an outstanding amount of freedom regarding design. Actually, the BMW i3’s appearance is as striking as the sensation of space and on-board drive experience. A body that measures 3,999 mm long, 1,775 mm wide, and 1,578 mm high gives the i3 distinct dimensions whose vivaciousness and trimness highlight the car's dexterity when driving in urban environments.

BMW i3’s shortened overhangs also are a distinct indicator to its agile drive traits. Ample glass surfaces infuse the i3 with a fascinating lightness and, along with its apparent carbon constructions, create a window into the vehicle's light-weight engineering.

Using light but very sturdy CFRP materials in constructing the passenger area lets it avoid having B-pillars, so that accessing to the two seat rows is very easy. One of the hallmark BMW i features is the "black belt" that extends from the hood, along the roof, and into the car’s rear. One more creation of the individual BMW i design motif is the streaming flow arc of the contours along the sides, allowing for bigger surfaces of the side windows at the back, thereby magnifying the substantial feeling of room inside the vehicle.

The BMW i3’s design for the front end is expressed by a robustly shaped apron, by the distinct BMW kidney grille interpretation as an encase component, and by headlamps edged with U-shaped LED units. The similarly U-shaped rear LEDs are combined as floating components into the big, completely glazed tailgate.

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