BMW announces hydrogen drive module prototype, but delays debut

BMW i5

Last week, BMW made the buzzing announcement that a drive module prototype for its upcoming hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) would debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).

A large BMW contingent will be present in Detroit, but a hydrogen prototype will not be among them.

The German automaker told BMW Blog on Tuesday that the FCEV’s module would not make an appearance at the event, but declined to explain further.

It’s a safe bet that the unit simply needs further testing, and that it will likely debut at a later date. There have been rumblings that the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show in September will be the host for the brand’s hydrogen coming out party.

BMW did say, however, that the prototype is one of the “first fruits of the company’s cooperation with Toyota,” and it’s “focusing on a specific vehicle architecture for a future FCEV.”

Last month, we reported that BMW was planning a hydrogen fuel cell car, possibly with parts sourced from the Toyota Mirai. BMW may have retracted its announcement, but clearly a FCEV is still in development.

The model, which may be called the i5, will sit between the all-electric i3 and hybrid i8 in the automaker’s lineup.

Little is known about BMW’s vehicle but the Mirai can accomplish 300 miles on a single tank of hydrogen and can replenish in about three minutes. The polarizing four-door sedan produces a total of 153 horsepower and will run from 0 to 60 mph run in about 9 seconds.

Other vehicles scheduled for the NAIAS are the BMW 6 Series Convertible, 6 Series Coupe, and 6 Series Gran Coupe, as well as a trio M6 variants: Coupe, Convertible and Gran Coupe.

(BMW i5 rendering via Autocar)