A 20-year BMW journey into hydrogen technology will finally see a series production car in 2025.
The German premium carmaker’s chief engineer, Klaus Frölich, has confirmed that its multigenerational hydrogen development programme would have a production car available in six years.
He said BMW’s long technological tie-up with Toyota was only about half a generation from fruition.
That will be the end of one chapter of a long story for BMW and hydrogen, which even saw the company dabble in directly burning liquefied hydrogen in variants of their existing internal-combustion engines in 2006.
There was even talk that the third generation of the i brand would be a hydrogen fuel cell that was due into production two years ago.
They’ve been beaten to the punch by Mercedes-Benz with its GLC F-Cell, and also Toyota, Honda and even Hyundai. Audi has also dabbled heavily in fuel-cell technology, having production-ready A7 h-trons tested by journalists at the Los Angeles motor show two years ago.
“In the early ’20s there will be a small series of X5 hydrogen cars and by 2025 there will be a mass producible hydrogen car available, with Toyota,” Frölich said.
“They (Toyota) make the standard performance stack and we make the high performance stack.”
The early series of X5s will be very expensive, low-volume models and there’s no word of whether BMW will lease or retail the SUVs and what countries they would be sold in.
A full series production model in 2025 would help with both range and with BMW’s CO2-reduction commitments as well.
Hydrogen fuel cells combine oxygen coming into the car with on-board hydrogen to generate electricity, emitting nothing but heat and water vapour. Effectively, they are an electric car with the hydrogen fuel cell behaving like an active battery.