BMW is not giving up on hydrogen fuel cells. Here's why
Despite its emphasis on lithium-ion-powered electric vehicles for zero-emission mobility, BMW is not giving up on hydrogen fuel cell technology, revealed Thomas Hofmann, a project manager of the German automaker. He said to InsideEVs that in the distant future, personal transportation would soon involve no tailpipe emissions, but there should be choices for the customers. Hofmann also said that most cars in the near future would be powered by batteries, but that shouldn't bar hydrogen fuel cell vehicle's availability for those who want to buy them.
His comment comes at a time when BMW is increasingly focusing on lithium-ion battery-powered vehicles in its bid to shift to zero-emission mobility. Interestingly, Hydrogen fuel cell technology is a true zero-emission technology, emitting only water from the tailpipe. While Toyota and Hyundai have been enthusiastically working on this technology for quite some time, BMW still lags in the segment. "I expect that we will not be the mainstream. But we talk about a percentage of our electric portfolio here… the customer should have the power of choice," said Hofmann while talking about BMW's hydrogen fuel cell aspirations.
His comment also comes at a time when the automaker announced the iX5 Hydrogen SUV last week. The iX5 hydrogen fuel cell EV is an all-electric variant of the carmaker's popular midsize SUV. However, the hydrogen car is not going to be a mass-produced EV. The iX5 hydrogen FCEV is slated to launch as a technology demonstrator in limited markets starting next year, which is a sort of rolling R&D project in the hands of select individuals.
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Talking about the carmaker's FCEV strategy, Hofmann said that BMW sees enough benefits today with hydrogen fuel cell technology in a bid to envision a future where there will be multiple powertrain options to promote zero-emission mobility. He also hinted that this strategy could help the company to achieve its carbon neutrality goals in a better manner.