BMW is about to build a small run of electric iX5s powered by hydrogen, but has plans for a proper hydrogen offering by 2025.
It’s clear that BEVs are winning the EV race at the moment, mainly because we all have the ability to ‘fuel’ them relatively easily by plugging in, either at home or on the move from kerbside chargers to dedicated EV charging stations like Gridserve.
But BEVs aren’t the only electric fruit, with hydrogen fuel cells a viable alternative offering easy EV use and much easier refuelling.
Yes, there are arguments that hydrogen fuel cell cars are very inefficient – because of the energy cost in extracting hydrogen – although it looks like progress is being made on that front with direct solar extraction of hydrogen. And just like it has with EV batteries, an impetus to develop Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will inevitably see more efficient methods of hydrogen extraction being developed. Then there’s the lack of infrastructure for hydrogen refuelling to be addressed, but if the impetus is there that too can be overcome.
A few companies, like Hyundai and Toyota, have persevered with hydrogen fuel cells, and now it looks like BMW is heading towards full production of a hydrogen fuel cell SUV, according to Nikkei Asia, with a collaboration with Toyota planning a new fuel cell EV by 2025.
Of course, BMW has been playing on the sidelines with hydrogen-powered vehicles for at least a decade, with plans for a fuel cell car revealed back in 2013, the reveal of a BMW i8 powered by hydrogen in 2015 (and first built in 2012), a BMW X7 Hydrogen in 2017, the BMW i Hydrogen Next in 2019 and, most recently, the BMW iX5 Hydrogen revealed last year and due to be built, in limited numbers, this year.
Now it seems the collaboration with Toyota will see a full-production hydrogen-powered BMW SUV hit the roads by 2025 as part of BMW’s plans to have half their sales powered by electricity by 2030