Fuel cell vehicles (FCEV) share many advantages of battery electric vehicles (BEV): No local emission, powerful yet silent propulsion with maximum torque already at zero rpm, for example. In contrast to BEVs however, FCEVs can be refuelled at hydrogen filling stations in time comparable to the time a conventional car spends at the filling station. Plus, the driving range of FCEVs is almost comparable to gasoline vehicles whereas the range of battery-electric cars only satisfies modest claims. For these reasons, some carmakers such as Daimler and Hyundai already have FCEVs in series production albeit at low quantities. A couple of years ago, BMW has joined the bandwagon; the Bavarians recently showed a demonstrator FCEV and announced that this technology will become an integral component of its Efficient Dynamics strategy.
The new hydrogen filling station Munich is an innovation in that it offers two different technological approaches. One is the CGH2 technology; working with a pressure of 700 bar, it is standardised and can be deployed immediately. The other technology is called CCH2 and uses gasiform hydrogen at a pressure of just 350 bar but at very low temperatures. According to BMW it promises to offer 50% higher capacity which would translate into a higher driving range of more than 500 km. The downside: This technology is currently in a very early stage of development. BMW attaches importance to have both systems at its disposal; thus it can test both systems and their integration into vehicles.
BMW considers the availability of an “initial” hydrogen filling station network to be realistic by 2020. Focus markets are Japan, USA, and here in particular California, as well as Europe. Here, the focus is on Germany, UK and Scandinavia. In contrast to Japan which does not have