Fuel cell a real solution for electricity starved anti-gas California
It was not a week ago that California banned sales of new internal combustion engine cars beyond 2035. Hardly a day later, the same California’s utility grid operator asked its citizens to avoid charging their electric vehicles.
They did so because, and we quote: ‘the power grid is under strain due to high demand and extreme temperatures.’ Join the dots and it’s obvious that Houston… er, make that California, we have a problem!
California, We Have a Problem
To be fair, the state’s gas car ban clearly promote ‘zero emissions’ car sales on a whole and not just EVs. Just about every ‘zero’ emissions car out there right now however happens to be an electric vehicle. Which California, ahem, is already struggling to charge. Leaving considerable doubts about the state’s ability to charge the volumes of EVs it must incrementally do by 2035. See the conundrum? So do we.
It seems that the car industry can see this picture as clearly as we do. BMW has already tossed its hat into the real zero emissions ring to make a difference. The Bavarian automaker Wednesday confirmed that it will soon commence in-house fuel cell production for use in its upcoming BMW iX5 Hydrogen.
Fuel Cells Use ‘Versatile’ Hydrogen
Four Cylinder (quaintly enough, that’s what they call BMW’s so-inspired downtown Munich HQ) suits also confirmed that BMW iX5 Hydrogen testing will kick off this year through a small fleet of hydrogen-powered SUVs. “As a versatile energy source, hydrogen has a key role to play on the road to climate neutrality,” BMW boss Oliver Zipse pointed out.
“Hydrogen will also gain substantially in importance as a form of personal mobility. “Hydrogen-powered vehicles are ideally placed to fit alongside EVs and complete the battery-electric electric mobility picture. “By commencing small-scale production of fuel cells today, we are demonstrating the technical maturity of this type of drive system and underscoring its future potential.”
Toyota Derived Fuel Cell
BMW will manufacture highly efficient fuel cell systems at its in-house competence centre for hydrogen. BMW acquires individual fuel cells from Toyota. The inspected fuel cells are then compressed into a stack and sealed into a sand cast aluminium frame by a cast plastic and light-alloy pressure plate.
The pressure plate which delivers hydrogen and oxygen to the stack. Voltage and fuel cell chemical tests follow, before, the system’s compressor, anode and cathode, the high-voltage coolant pump and wiring harness are fitted. Toyota, by the by, has been selling its own fuel cell Mirai since 2014.
Fuel Cell NOW Half AS HEAVY, Doubly Efficient
“Many years of research and development have enabled us to get the very most out of hydrogen technology,” BMW development chief Frank Weber concludes. “We have more than doubled continuous output in the BMW iX5 Hydrogen’s second-generation fuel cell while also drastically reducing its weight and size.”
BMW is already developing a next generation fuel cell vehicle platform to underpin all form of future hydrogen powered zero emissions cars and SUVs. The focus for now however remains on first sales of the BMW iX5 Hydrogen.