BMW Aiming at 2025 Availability for Hydrogen Fuel Cell

BMW says it will offer hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to customers from 2025 ‘at the earliest’, although this depends on specific timing and market conditions, the German automaker says.

To coincide with this, the manufacturer is showing off a new fuel cell-powered X5-based concept car, the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT, at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Germany.

The X5 has had its conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) removed and replaced with a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain. As well as a concept car for use at shows like the International Motor Show, it is also a development car to test and advance BMW’s fuel cell technology. The car itself hasn’t seen any major external changes, with blue highlights on its paintwork, grille, and wheels to emphasize the connection to the i brand, plus blue bodywork panels where the rear-mounted exhausts would be on a ‘normal’ X5.

While 2025 is the earliest time frame set by the company, it notes that this “very much depends on market requirements and overall conditions”. Presumably, that means whether BMW’s fuel cell technology is ready for public use on the roads by that time, and whether the hydrogen infrastructure for filling up the tank is in place globally. Indeed, BMW has noted that while fuel cell vehicles have distinct advantages over traditional ICE vehicles and EVs – no emissions apart from water, quiet, takes the same apart of time to fill up with hydrogen as an ICE vehicle does with gas – but that the infrastructure simply isn’t there yet.

Other automakers have set similar time frames in the past few months, with BMW rivals Audi saying earlier this year that hydrogen vehicles would not be available “until the second half of the next decade.”

BMW has long been interested in hydrogen fuel cell powertrains; in 2013 it partnered with Toyota to build fuel cell-powered vehicles, and has been testing and developing a hydrogen powertrain since 2015. The Japanese automaker has since released the Mirai, one of the first commercially-available fuel cell cars, although it is only available in specific regions and locations around the world.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *