BMW is investigating ways to make hydrogen-powered vehicles a viable mobility option in the future.
It may be observed in the brand-new BMW iX5, whose manufacturing started last December, as well as in the medium- to long-term ambitions of the German business.
The fundamental issue is that, for the time being at least, there is an infrastructure for cars that use this alternative fuel since manufacturers and governments alike are betting on the adoption of the electric car.
Furthermore, according to Oliver Zipse, CEO of BMW, up to 30% of its consumers would choose zero-emission technology since it is environmentally friendly.
The answer? BMW wants to solve the issue by utilizing upcoming hydrogen truck fueling facilities.
Jürgen Guldner, who oversees BMW’s hydrogen technology initiative, said in an interview that the objective is to create combined hydrogen filling stations for automobiles and trucks.
For larger truck fleets, installing hydrogen stations is significantly simpler because logistics companies are already interested in it.
The technology’s application in passenger cars remains specialized and struggles to compete with the declining prices of electric vehicle batteries, which is why BMW has long defended it.
Furthermore, significant and expensive technical obstacles still exist, leading rival Mercedes-Benz AG to discontinue production of the GLC fuel cell SUV in 2020 and focus instead on battery cars. Audi abandoned its intentions to build a hydrogen test fleet for the same reason.
$2 billion was spent globally on hydrogen fuel cells last year for vehicles and refilling. Investments in public EV charging alone totaled more than $0.004 billion throughout the same time period.
Despite this, BMW has continued to work toward making it a competitive option and has had this goal in mind for a long time.
It produced 100 “Hydrogen 7” automobiles that ran on this fuel in 2005. The premium automaker has been working with Toyota Motor Corp. for the past ten years; Toyota provides the fuel cells that the iX5 test fleet uses to produce electricity from hydrogen and oxygen.
According to BMW’s Guldner, the development will profit from plans for hydrogen trucks because the propulsion systems of commercial and passenger vehicles share the majority of their components.
For drivers who frequently take long-distance trips and encounter issues with the charging infrastructure of battery-powered vehicles, Zip believes that hydrogen cars are the best option.
BMW continues to take an increasingly unusual stance on hydrogen, but it is still unclear whether it will start producing its “Neue Klasse” electric vehicles in 2025.
Guldner contends that in order for them to be mass-produced, expenses must be reduced to the same level as those of automobiles that run entirely on batteries.