Toyota’s new Mirai fuel-cell car is bringing hydrogen-electric power to the U.S. market starting next year, and BMW may want to jump on board this trend with the upcoming i5 model from the company’s Project i lineup. A report from AutoCar says the i5 may use Toyota’s hydrogen powertrain as part of the two automakers’ ongoing partnership.
The BMW i5 is set to slot in above the existing BMW i3 (pictured) with a stretched wheelbase and four doors, but based on the i3’s same carbon-fiber body and aluminum chassis. Though the i3 uses an electric motor and has an optional range-extender gasoline engine, this new report says the i5 model will launch with a hydrogen-electric fuel cell powertrain sourced from Toyota. This powertrain uses hydrogen gas instead of batteries to provide electricity for the electric motor.
In its first application, the Toyota Mirai, this powertrain provides 153 hp and gives the car approximately 300 miles of range on a full tank of hydrogen. We don’t know how much these numbers would change for the BMW i5, but that car will likely be lighter than the 4078-lb Mirai due to its use of materials like carbon fiber and aluminum—the BMW i3 weighs 2860 lbs as standard and 3130 lbs with the range-extender engine.
We don’t know any sort of timeline for the BMW i5, but given that the Toyota Mirai and its hydrogen powertrain go on sale next year in California, the i5 could arrive sooner rather than later. Look for more news about this upcoming model for BMW’s Project i lineup.