Automakers forge ahead with development of hydrogen and fuel cell vehicles

What you will learn:

  • Details of the joint BMW-Toyota hydrogen fuel cell effort.
  • Benefits and issues surrounding hydrogen fuel cells.
  • How does the “reduction of inflation” law impact the development of this technology?

In the fiercely competitive market for zero-emission vehicles, you’re only up for your latest innovation. So under the ‘look what we’ve got here’ category is the news that BMW and Toyota will team up to produce hydrogen fuel cell vehicles from mid-decade, according to a Nikkei report. Asian.

BMW sales chief Pieter Nota told the publication that the brands aim to sell jointly developed hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as early as 2025. Since their partnership in 2013, BMW and Toyota have previously teamed up to develop gasoline-powered sports cars, launching the BMW Z4 and Toyota Supra in 2019.

Nota said the union of Toyota and BMW could help BMW reach its 50% electrification goal across its entire lineup two years ahead of its current projected date of 2030. Toyota has a lot of experience building of hydrogen vehicles, as its Mirai sedan is now nearly a decade old. Old.

The German auto giant has also announced plans to produce the iX5 sport utility vehicle on a small scale this year. The iX5 is based on BMW’s X5 SUV. In the iX5, two carbon fiber reinforced plastic tanks house the 10,000 psi hydrogen, which is converted into electrical energy inside the fuel cell.

While the fuel cell produces 170 hp, the 5,600 lb. The SUV also requires an electric drive battery, which can be charged via the fuel cell or via regenerative braking. Together, the powertrain generates 374 hp. A single electric motor sends power to the rear axle.

BMW pointed to a number of benefits for the technology, such as fast charging times. Depending on the charging station and battery capacity, fully electric vehicles currently require between 30 minutes and several hours for a full charge. Fuel cell cars’ hydrogen tanks are full and ready to go in less than five minutes. A full hydrogen tank will last approximately 300 miles.

For users, this brings the availability and flexibility of the vehicle closer to that of a conventional car. Battery cars can match this with very large batteries, which will in turn lead to increased vehicle weight and charging times.

How do hydrogen fuel cells work?

Hydrogen fuel cell cars are powered by an electric motor. The common abbreviation is FCEV, short for “fuel cell electric vehicle”, unlike a BEV or “battery electric vehicle”. Electricity generated in a hydrogen engine’s fuel cell can either be routed to the electric motor and directly power the FCEV, or charge a battery, which stores energy until it is needed.

In fuel cell technology, a process known as reverse electrolysis takes place, in which hydrogen reacts with oxygen in the fuel cell. The hydrogen comes from one or more tanks integrated into the FCEV, while the oxygen comes from the ambient air.

The range of fuel cell vehicles does not depend on the outside temperature. In other words, it does not deteriorate in cold weather. The iX5 has undergone extensive driving tests on public roads as well as at the BMW Group’s test center in Arjeplog, northern Sweden. Despite harsh temperatures of -20°C as well as ice and snow, all drive components of the BMW iX5 Hydrogen SUV have proven their reliability and suitability for everyday use.

The biggest problem facing hydrogen proponents is the lack of public hydrogen filling stations in much of the world, which hampers mass production. Additionally, handling and dispensing hydrogen can be difficult because it requires special storage and must be under high pressure to fill a car.

BMW unveiled the iX5 Hydrogen fuel cell concept car at the German International Motor Show in September 2021. BMW will build less than 100 iX5 Hydrogen SUVs this year for demonstration and testing purposes, but don’t expect not able to buy one. Instead, the cars will be distributed to influencers and BMW employees.

Hydrogen support

In the United States, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, now in effect, gives hydrogen a stronger foundation to play an important role in the global economy. The production, storage and use of hydrogen all benefit from multiple tax advantages.

The law introduces a 10-year production tax credit (CIP) for “clean hydrogen defined by the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions rate achieved at a qualifying hydrogen production facility whose construction begins before 2033”. It expands and creates Investment Tax Credits (ITC) and Production Tax Credits (PTC) for clean energy generation and gives generators the choice of opting for ITC or PTC.

Clean energy is defined by an emission rate which cannot exceed 4 kg of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) per kilogram of hydrogen. It provides a definition specifically including hydrogen; introduces a substantial credit for clean commercial vehicles; and expands the credit for alternative fuel stations to encourage more hydrogen refueling stations. The hydrogen must be produced in the United States, and the law appears to apply to all hydrogen produced in the United States, even if that hydrogen is exported.

For its part, Germany will invest more than 8 billion euros ($9.74 billion) to finance large-scale green hydrogen projects, with the aim of developing hydrogen as an alternative to fossil fuels to achieve climate goals. Most of the hydrogen used today is produced by reforming natural gas, which also releases a lot of carbon dioxide (CO2). Green hydrogen is extracted from water by electrolysis, but this remains a very energy-intensive process.

The BMW Group officially supports the efforts of the European Commission to implement the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR) to develop hydrogen filling stations and electric charging infrastructure in parallel.

The so-called “fit for 55” legislative package, which refers to the EU’s objective of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030​, should allow the EU to achieve its climate goals of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. The main objective is to ensure that the public has access to a network of infrastructure sufficient to recharge or refuel road vehicles with alternative fuels.

In Japan, Yamaha Motor is developing a 5.0-liter hydrogen-powered V8 engine for Toyota. Yamaha and Toyota have antecedents: the 4.8-litre V10 in the Lexus LFA was developed by Yamaha. The new hydrogen V8 started as the 5-liter V8 deployed in the Lexus RC F. Yamaha made changes to the injectors, cylinder heads, intake manifold and cylinder heads to deliver 455 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque from this engine.

About Andrew Estofan

Check Also

Viet Nam experiences strong rebound, momentum remains strong

Andrea Coppola, World Bank (WB) Principal Country Economist and Program Manager for Equitable Growth, Finance …