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BMW i3 Electric Car Coming, But BMW Believes In Fuel Cells Too

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2014 BMW i3

2014 BMW i3

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All eyes have been on BMW over the past few weeks as it launched the 2014 i3 electric car, two years after the concept first debuted at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show.

So where does BMW go from here? A wider range of electric cars, perhaps? Well, yes--with the BMW i8 sports car and mooted i5 on the way--but fuel cells are still on the German automaker's mind too, according to Motor Authority.

BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer is looking towards fuel cell vehicles as a way of applying BMW's electric technology to longer-distance vehicles.

“In the future, options like this will offer short refueling times and enable long distance travel with zero emissions," he told reporters earlier this week.

It's part of BMW's plan to be one step ahead of the game as far as next-generation vehicle technology is concerned. Reithofer says that new technologies and changing business fields open up new perspectives and growth opportunities--and BMW doesn't intend to get left behind as the automotive landscape changes.

Launching the i3 is part of this plan--and it's a car that BMW hopes will deliver it a significant slice of the electric car market.

The company can't survive on one model alone however, so other cars are in planning, including the aforementioned i8 plug-in hybrid sports car. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will join this roster eventually, partly aided by engineering expertise from fuel cell partner Toyota.

We're all aware of hydrogen's pros and cons by now--not least the difficulty of gathering it in an eco-friendly way and the paucity of refueling stations--but scientists around the world are working on ways of improving its viability in the future.

But as with battery electric vehicles, simply having a range of desirable, usable vehicles will be a major step towards fuel cell adoption--and BMW certainly knows a thing or two about making vehicles people want to buy.

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Comments (8)
  1. BMW should be careful with betting on technology like hydrogen that's big on promising but low on delivering as a way of staying ahead in the automotive technology game. Especially since its emerging rival Tesla is betting on more practical sounding "hypercharging": technology that could charge a battery to 80% in ~5 minutes.
     
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  2. I agree. Hydrogen is the biggest scam going. It’s the big oil companies that are pushing hydrogen. They know it will probably never work out, and if it does, hydrogen will be made from natural gas, like it is now. Meanwhile, they’ve used the promise of hydrogen to delay other viable alternatives, like plug-ins. That’s why they call them Fool Sells. They are meant to deceive us. Classic red herring.
     
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  3. They're called fool cell cars for a reason!
     
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  4. Chemical bonds are strong...separating hydrogen from a water molecule or any other source takes much energy. A hydrogen fuel cell powered electric motor will NEVER be as efficient as a battery powered electric motor. The hydrogen fuel cell got us to the moon, but it will not get use to the grocery store. How do I know this...34 credits in chemistry.
     
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  5. I think that when emerging technologies are involved to preach for one as opposed to another is foolish. Each has its pros and cons and the very fact that they are "emerging" alludes to the existence of inefficiencies/hurdles that need to be overcome before becoming mainstream. To have predicted that the Wright brothers 12 second, 120 foot flight would lead to modern aviation in less then a century would have required omniscience. Lets say through research a viable means to cheaply produce abundant amounts of hydrogen is discovered and instead of using the technology for cars it is used to power a clean power grid? Progress requires that we don't limit ourselves to the answers we seek.
     
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  6. I agree. We can sit here and argue about what will be the prevailing technology, but for the most part it's simply indivdual opinions on their preferences. None of these new technologies have shown to be the end all be all, so why put all your eggs in one basket?
     
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  7. But what if 25 years after the Wright brother's first flight aeroplanes were still these hugely expensive experimental things with an eternal promise of becoming a commercial proposition 5 more years in the future?
     
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  8. I hope more carmakers start using high strength carbon reinforced plastic car bodies, they will be much lighter than metal and be just as strong if not stronger.
    The lower weight will add range to any hybrid or EV and the bodies won't rust.
     
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