Most car manufacturers have already announced their plans to electrify their model range and phase out internal combustion engines. This creates the impression that the future is only for electric cars, but BMW and Toyota do not yet plan to abandon the creation of cars on hydrogen fuel cells.
BMW Head of Sales Pieter Nota told Nikkei in an interview that the brands aim to sell jointly developed hydrogen fuel cell cars as early as 2025. The note did not hint at what to expect, but emphasized that fuel cells are “particularly relevant” for large SUVs such as the BMW iX5 Hydrogen concept. Small series production of the car is expected to begin by the end of this year.
BMW and Toyota have collaborated on many cars over the years, including the recent revival of the Supra sports car. In early 2013, they formalized their green technology alliance, but did not expect to complete work on a convenient fuel cell system until 2020.
It may seem strange to continue working on hydrogen-powered cars at a time when electric cars are much more popular. However, Nota pointed to a number of familiar advantages of this technology. Cars running on fuel cells can be refueled in just a few minutes, while electric cars, for example, take several times longer to charge. Nota also noted that BMW does not want to put all of its investment into one technology, and that hydrogen models are not as prone to supply shortages as their electric counterparts.
Despite this, BMW may soon increase the development of electric vehicles. Pure electric cars represent a larger share of sales than previously expected, and Nota suggested the company could reach its goal of 50% electric car sales (including brands such as Mini and Rolls-Royce) “one to two years earlier” than the current goal by 2030.