Recently, we were able to get to the test site of BMW, where we saw a lot of interesting prototypes and experimental samples. We can say that we have touched the nearest future of the automotive industry, and we hasten to share with you all seen and heard.
The landfill is located in France, in the city of Miramas. Under the hot sun on the highway one after another sweeping machine looks a little different from the usual mass-produced models. We came to standing near the BMW 5 GT, which is different from riding on our cities only cars with blue lights near the door lock. When asked what it is, an engineer who accompanied us said, “Indicators of hydrogen leakage. But do not worry, there is no danger. ” Naturally, we are tensed because in memory immediately arose picture last minute “Hindenburg”.
However, we really were afraid of nothing, because, unlike the hydrogen-air mixture, which was filled with a giant airship, BMW uses a much less explosive pure hydrogen. Moreover, R & D in this area the Germans spend more than 30 years. In the early stages of the experiments with hydrogen attempted to use it as fuel for the conventional internal combustion engines. However, a sufficiently high efficiency for many years was not achieved, and the last model with the engine on hydrogen became sedan BMW Hydrogen 7, out of production in 2007, the year.
The next step on the path to a brighter future is the use of hydrogen fuel cells – cells that contain hydrogen, in which the chemical reaction takes place thanks to electricity generation. The first prototype of an electric fuel cell was set up in the BMW in 2012. In 2013 it was launched program of scientific and design collaboration with Toyota, which was the product of hydrogen above the BMW 5 GT.
What is needed to expend so much effort and money in the development of hydrogen if BMW has already started producing commercially successful hybrids that are sufficiently connected to an electrical outlet to recharge? In fact, besides the development of the hydrogen car will have to invest a lot of money in the production of pure hydrogen, and the construction of a network of filling stations. Even if you do not take into account these “related” costs, the cost of hydrogen is obtained is higher than that of gasoline and diesel fuel. By the way, in Munich have launched the first hydrogen filling station, allowing cars to fill two technologies:
- CGH2: hydrogen is pumped into a tank in a gaseous state under a pressure of 700 bar;
- CCH2: gas precooled to -200 degrees Celsius, it allows about 50% increase in capacity of the tank.
When refueling technology CCH2 maximum power reserve of up to 500 km in ideal conditions. At the same time filling the most comparable to fill full tank of petrol. Naturally, hydrogen refueling hose equipped with a thermal protection, so you cannot be afraid freeze him. Himself hydrogen tank much like a dirigible torpedo.
The length of the tank is about 2 m, a multi-layered structure made of aluminum, carbon fiber, radiation protection and the air gap. Fully filled tank weighs about 160 kg. His feature instead of the propeller shaft. The total mass of the fuel cell and an electric motor is about 200 kg. Thus, the hydrogen “Five” is obtained with the same mass as cars with internal combustion engines and lighter than traditional battery electric vehicles.
Using hydrogen car is no different from the usual approach: refueled, boarded by pressing the start button the motor driving mode selected and pressed the gas pedal. Motor power of the prototype is 180 kW (245 hp), which is enough for quick acceleration rather large car. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to test the speed limits of the prototype, so we did not exceed 150 km / h. It was unusual to feel how the car goes over the gas pedal, without hearing the usual noise of the motor. Only with the rapid acceleration of the electric motor began to whistle softly.
Why hydrogen vehicles are not actively began to displace the traditional roads with cars? There are several reasons. Firstly, the cost of “hydrogen” get high enough, as in the production of the fuel tank and the cells use advanced, almost space technology. True, Toyota has taken the first step and released hydrogen sedan Mirai, which will cost about $ 60 thousand. Secondly, there must be a broad infrastructure of fueling stations, but oil lobby is interested in expanding the range of fuels. It is expected that in 2023-2025 years in Germany will be about 400 hydrogen filling stations (currently about 50), and in Japan – about 800. Around the same time, BMW plans to release for sale the first production model in the fuel cells.
H 2 O
While developers bring to mind hydrogen, engineers are trying to squeeze everything possible out of conventional internal combustion engines. In particular, from the dusty closets we got the idea during the Second World War: the injection of water into the engine. In 1960-70 the company’s Oldsmobile and Saab production cars produced with water injection, but the imperfection of the control electronics at the time led to the curtailment of the work on this technology.
By injecting water into the intake manifold air temperature is reduced and its density increases, allowing to slightly raise the power of the engine. Also, water vapor reduces the temperature in the combustion chamber, so you can still increase the boost pressure. The first BMW car with water injection was the Coupe M4. She will participate in the role of motorcycle racing MotoGP safety car.
In addition, the company is preparing a hatchback BMW “first” series, equipped with a combined injection: water is supplied not only to the collector but also in cylinders. The total increase in power from the 1.5-liter turbo reaches 14 hp. If we restrict only injection into the reservoir, the increase does not exceed 4 hp Injection of water reduces the risk of detonation, so engineers can further increase compression and reduce the proportion of fuel in the mixture, thereby saving fuel. Under normal conditions, savings of 3-8%. According to studies by the combustion in the presence of water also flows more effectively.
By the way, in contrast to the M4, which will have to regularly replenish the tank with water, “one” does not even have to do this. The water here will be collected in the form of condensation in the air conditioning system. However, the heat will still have to add water alone (only distillate!). In cold weather, the water tank will be warmed up, so afraid of freezing it is not necessary.
So far, the company’s do not call the terms of the sale of the production model with a combined injection of water. The system is complicated, too expensive, and so far unreported. But the technology that will be run-in at the M4, go into a series already in 2016. Perhaps the first model it will M2, but BMW did not give information in this regard.
Near future BMW
Finally we were able to “feel” compact 2 Active Tourer eDrive, which goes on sale in early 2016. A five-door body, the platform of the coupe i8, only placed in front of an electric motor of 65 kW. Drive back. The total output reaches 220 hp at 385 Nm of torque. Acceleration to 100 km / h of 6.5 seconds.
Mobility car really was very good, with four riders machine is almost behind the BMW 435i. In turns 2 Active heels a little, well-kept road. On leaving the primer Automatic quickly connect the rear axle, so front wheels do not have time to stall.
You can select one of three modes:
- Auto eDrive: Automatic switches itself between the engine and the electric motor;
- Max eDrive: the electric motor has priority;
- Save Battery: Charging the battery using the internal combustion engine, this way you can bring the charge level to 70%.
A full charge from a household outlet is 3 hours and 15 minutes from the outlet to the device WallBox – 2 hours 15 minutes.
Given BMW’s active promotion of hybrids, is expected to appear in the majority of the company’s lines. In particular, there is already information about the preparation of a hybrid BMW of the third series, in line BMW «Five”.