BMW i5 Will Be A Hydrogen-Powered Crossover, Says BMWBlog

BMW i5 will be a hydrogen powered SUV says a rumor

Rumors are strange things. Some are just silly, like the rumor that Michael and Janet Jackson were the same person. Others are more substantive. The key to whether you should believe one or not is the source. When that source is BMWBlog, the likelihood that the rumor is true goes up. Way up.

BMWBlog says the BMW i5 won’t arrive until 2020 and, when it gets here, it will be a hydrogen-powered crossover SUV. Didn’t see that one coming, did you? We know that BMW R&D chief Klaus Froehlich has said that, whatever the BMW i5 is, it won’t arrive until 2020, so that part agrees with the BMWBlog folks. The rumor mill says the i5 production model will be just as spectacular in design as its i3 and i8 brothers, but without the i8’s butterfly doors. It will have an attractive appearance but not sacrifice the comfort of its passengers.

The thinking is that electric cars like the BMW i3 are perfect for the daily needs of urbanites and suburbanites, but that a hydrogen-powered fuel cell car would be better suited to long-distance travel with minimal time for refueling required. [Note: On the whole, the competitiveness and purpose of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is highly questionable.]

BMW is known to have tested a fuel cell powered 5 Series sedan in July. It is sharing some development duties with Toyota as the two companies plan a new sports car for both. Surely that means BMW has access to most if not all of the Toyota fuel cell technology embodied in its hydrogen-powered Mirai, doesn’t it?

The big question is, what about hydrogen refueling infrastructure? Who will pay for it and when will it be available? BMW is working at creating an electric charging network to rival that of Tesla, but at the moment, there are a total of 3 commercial hydrogen stations in the US, and 2 of them are located in southern California. BMW and Mercedes (and others) are hedging their bets on electric cars and fuel cell technology. Elon Musk may call them “fool cells,” but a lot of smart people are investing time and money in fuel cell technology — just in case.

It the BMWBlog rumor true? We don’t know. Parts of it agree with what is well known. But would BMW really crawl out on the fuel cell limb? Only if it thinks it can make money doing so, right?

Image Credit: BMWBlog

Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.