Wheels & Deals: BMW committed to hydrogen power; plus news from VW, Kia, Audi and Corsa

Declan Colley reports on BMW's new I Hydrogen NEXT system, the German company's alternative powertrain technology
Wheels & Deals: BMW committed to hydrogen power; plus news from VW, Kia, Audi and Corsa
The reveal of the new BMW I Hydrogen NEXT system has underlined BMW's commitment to developing alternative powertrain technologies.

We have been wittering on for ages here at Examiner Motoring about hydrogen power being the next step in the evolution of the automobile and now BMW has underlined its commitment to the genre.

The German giant says that developing alternative powertrain technologies is a top priority for the company and the reveal of the new BMW I Hydrogen NEXT system has underlined its commitment.

According to Klaus Fröhlich, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Research and Development, the company is convinced that various alternative powertrain systems will exist alongside one another in future, as there is no single solution that addresses the full spectrum of customers’ mobility requirements worldwide.

“Hydrogen fuel cell technology could quite feasibly become the fourth pillar of our powertrain portfolio in the long term, he added. “The upper-end models in our extremely popular X family would make particularly suitable candidates here.”

BMW has been working with the Toyota Motor Corporation on fuel cell technology since 2013 and while it says it has no doubt as to the long-term potential of such systems, it will be some time before the company offers its customers a production car powered by hydrogen.

This is primarily due to the fact that the right framework conditions are not yet in place.

“In our view, hydrogen as energy carrier must first be produced in sufficient quantities at a competitive price using green electricity. Hydrogen will then be used primarily in applications that cannot be directly electrified, such as long-distance heavy-duty transport,” said Fröhlich.

The requisite infrastructure, such as an extensive Europe-wide network of hydrogen filling stations, is also lacking at present. However, BMW says it is pressing ahead with its development work.

It maintains it is using the time until the infrastructure and sustainably produced hydrogen supply are in place to substantially reduce the cost of manufacturing the powertrain system.

“The fuel cell system for the powertrain for the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT generates up to 170 bhp of electric energy from the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen from the ambient air,” explains Jürgen Guldner, Vice President of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology and Vehicle Projects at BMW. This means the vehicle emits nothing but water vapour.

A customer car powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology will be brought to market at the earliest in the second half of this decade by BMW, depending on the global market conditions and requirements.

To ensure it is ideally prepared to meet the technological demands of a hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle by the second half of this decade, the BMW Group is teaming up with the Toyota Motor Corporation as part of a successful partnership that dates back to 2013. The two manufacturers have joined forces to work on fuel cell powertrain systems and scalable, modular components for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles under a product development cooperation agreement. Fuel cells from the cooperation with Toyota will be deployed in the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT, alongside a fuel cell stack and overall system developed by BMW.

Watch this space.

VW goes virtual with 2020 Geneva Motor Show

Although the 2020 Geneva Motor Show couldn't proceed as planned, Volkswagen still wanted us all to experience what would have been on display there.

To this end the company has developed a virtual car show to enable you to experience, including insights from the all-electric ID.3, the Golf 8 GTI and the new Touareg R with Plug-In-Hybrid technology.


The virtual car show can be seen Here, so check it out.

Kia extends global warranty promise

Kia has announced the launch of the ‘Kia Promise’, a global warranty extension program for its vehicles. The Kia Promise is designed to support Kia customers whose movements may be limited because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Kia Promise covers 142 countries worldwide, and all vehicles with original Kia warranties that expired and will expire between February 1 and April 3, 2020. The program extends the warranty of all eligible vehicles to June 30, 2020.

Kia Motors believes that more than 500,000 customers worldwide could benefit from the Kia Promise warranty extension. In Ireland just over the owners of just over 1400 cars registered between February 1 and April 30, 2013. will benefit from the extension .

With many countries and businesses taking precautionary measures to counteract the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kia Promise aims to help customers who may be unable to visit a workshop during this time. The program also helps customers who are not able to bring their car in for free servicing as part of a Kia Care 3 programme that may expire during the period when dealerships are closed due to Government guidelines.

Audi reaches sporty new heights

The Audi RS6 is indeed a car to drool over in normal circumstances, but the performance tuner ABT Sportsline has made it even more outrageous.

The German outfit, which specialises in spicing up Audi and VW Group products, has transformed just 125 Audi RS 6 models into the special limited edition ABT RS6-R.

The core of the ABT RS6-R package is the ABT Power R performance upgrade, which unleashes some 740 bhp from the 4.0-litre V8 TFSI engine. This is an increase of 140 bhp over the standard model.

It has also developed high-quality ABT Aerodynamics carbon body components, which give the RS6-R’s front in particular a much more aggressive and striking appearance.

It certainly looks the part, but God alone knows how much one of them might set you back.

Opel unveils pricing for Corsa-e model

Opel Ireland has announced the official pricing for its much anticipated Corsa-e model.

Available to order now, the all-electric Corsa-e is on offer in SC and Elite trims and retails from €27,338 and €30,800, respectively, inclusive of SEAI grant and VRT relief.

The new Corsa-e model complements existing petrol and diesel versions, launched earlier in 2020 and James Brooks, Managing Director at Leeson Motors, Opel Importer in Ireland, said: “We’re celebrating the arrival of the all-new Corsa-e model, as our first full-electric car in Ireland, and it takes its place beside our new Grandland X plug-in hybrid, now also available.”

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