Considering that the BMW i8 design’s has a cult following, the fuel cell prototype’s square cut bodywork is not what the i8 lovers would expect. To some, it may look like a heavily riced version of the i8. (Batmobile, anyone?).
But the design isn’t what the prototype showcases!
The 1.5 liter 3-cylinder engine of the i8 is replaced with a hydrogen fuel stack, developed in partnership with Toyota.
It gets a tunnel tank mounted in the middle of the car capable of storing hydrogen at 350-bar pressure and this hydrogen is fed to the fuel stack which is capable of churning out 242 hp.
BMW claims that filling up the hydrogen tank will take ‘approximately’ the same time as refuelling a petrol/diesel engine and a range of 300 miles (480 km) or greater can be expected from the finished product.
The i8-based prototype was built in 2012 but was kept hidden for 3 years. It was recently brought out of the closet which suggests the German extensive research and testing of the hydrogen fuel cells. BMW has no plans to bring the 2-door prototype into the market as of now. But customers can expect a fuel cell based BMW line up by 2020, produced on the roots of i3 and i8.
Hmm… They did take the Global Warming issue seriously!