Every major automotive manufacturer is looking into the best ways to implement alternative fuels, and BMW is doing one of the more impressive jobs of it. After having heavily invested in battery technology, and even managing to make an impressive production battery vehicle in the form of the 2015 BMW i8, BMW is now looking to hedge its alternative fuel bets by also investing in hydrogen. Of course, hydrogen-powered cars have been around for some time, both in the form of hydrogen combustion engines and also as fuel cells. BMW has been involved in quite a bit of research in this area, but with this debut of the i8 Hydrogen Fuel Cell Research Vehicle, the reality of a hydrogen BMW in dealerships looks to be much closer.

The system was also put into a 2014 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo, but that’s somewhat more difficult to get excited about, the i8 being the clear winner in the looks department. It produces 245 horsepower and offers a 300-mile range. That’s a pretty good range for an all-electric, but as BMW points out, refueling is very quick with hydrogen, so the range issues that battery vehicles face aren’t really an issue here.

Updated 07/15/2915: The guys over Cars Video unveiled some driving scenes of the recently announced i8 Hydrogen Fuel Cell Research Vehicle. Check them out to hear what the future sounds like. It’s spooky.

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  • 2015 BMW Hydrogen Fuel Cell Research Vehicle
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    8 sec. (Est.)
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Why it matters

Along with the fast refueling time, BMW is also stressing the energy density advantage that hydrogen has over batteries, eliminating the need to carry around immensely heavy battery packs. The downside is obviously the almost complete lack of refueling infrastructure, and for those living in any but a couple of locations in the world, that lack really is complete. Battery charging stations are much easier and cheaper to build and can be used by a wider selection of vehicles. It’s possible that the balance will shift in the future, but for now, hydrogen is, for most of us, just exciting in theory.

2015 BMW i8

2015 BMW i8 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review here.

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