BMW has given a glimpse into the future of its cars, with a hydrogen fuel cell-powered version of its i8 sports car.

Being a plug-in hybrid, the standard i8 is one of a raft of cutting-edge sports cars currently available, and blends huge performance with scarcely believable economy from its 1.5-litre petrol/electric motor combo.

However, this new prototype version is completely emissions-free, and sees the combustion engine replaced with a hydrogen fuel cell stack, which is fed the gas from cryogenic storage tanks that take the place of the regular i8’s battery packs.

In creating this test car, BMW has dramatically altered the shape of the i8 to make it more aerodynamically efficient – an aspect of car design that is likely to become more prominent as manufacturers look at every possible way of making their vehicles consume less.

The hydrogen i8 was in fact constructed in 2012, and has been used by BMW in secret to hone its hydrogen fuel cell technology, which the brand claims will reach showrooms in selected models within the next ten years. It is likely that the i8's sister car, the i3 hatchback, will be the first to receive it.

BMW is sharing its advancements in hydrogen fuel cells as part of a technological partnership with Japanese carmaker Toyota, which has released what it is claiming to be the world’s first commercially available hydrogen powered car, in the form of the Mirai saloon.

Would you consider a hydrogen fuel cell in your next car? Have you already taken the eco-car plunge with a hybrid or electric car? Let us know in the comments section below.

Daljinder Nagra


July 3, 2015