How do you make the BMW i8 meaner, and kinder to the environment at the same time? Rip the petrol engine out and feed it hydrogen instead, that’s how.
This Mad Max-looking beast you see before you is an i8 test mule, built back in 2012. It uses the familiar i8 platform, with all its carbon fibre goodness, but has a hydrogen tank mounted in the centre. The fuel is passed through a fuel cell stack that mixes pure hydrogen with atmospheric oxygen to generate electric current, which is then sent either to a set of batteries or directly to the electric motors.
According to Top Gear, this beast will do 0-62mph in roughly six seconds and has a maximum speed of 124mph. It’s a lot slower than the standard i8, then, but it does have the advantage of being kinder to the environment — the only byproduct from its exhausts is water.
According to BMW, it can be refuelled in around five minutes, although you’ll probably have to travel the full distance of its 300-mile range before coming across a hydrogen refuelling station.
As clever as it is, we’d say the version of the i8 that BMW eventually greenlit looks better in every way, although we do have a soft spot for this mule’s 80s body work.
Check out some more picturs of the car below, read out our full review of the (real) BMW i8, and watch our impressions in video form below.