- Mercedes, Audi scrapped plans for hydrogen passenger cars.
- Toyota to provide fuel cells, while BMW assembles full system.
BMW has started producing fuel-cell systems for its hydrogen-powered iX5 sport utitliy vehicle, moving forward with an alternative fuel that its German rivals don’t expect to be viable in passenger cars.
“Hydrogen will become more relevant in individual mobility due to its advantages,” chief executive officer Oliver Zipse said on Wednesday (Aug 31) at an opening event for the production site in Munich. “Hydrogen-powered cars are the ideal technology for us to complement pure battery-electric vehicles.”
BMW plans to produce fewer than 100 iX5 hydrogen vehicles by the end of this year for testing and is “seriously considering” the possibility of mass producing fuel-cell cars within this decade. Toyota Motor will provide the fuel cells, while BMW has developed some components, such as compressors, and will produce the fuel-cell systems in Bavaria.
BMW is the last remaining German luxury-car maker to pursue hydrogen drivetrains: Mercedes stopped the production of its GLC fuel cell SUV to concentrate on battery-powered cars; Audi shelved hydrogen test-fleet plans for the same reason.
Zipse said in early August that hydrogen-powered models might be an option for BMW’s new “Neue Klasse” platform starting in 2025. By then and until 2030, the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles will be insufficient in many countries, making hydrogen-powered vehicles important for achieving climate goals, he said.