Klaus Fröhlich – BMW’s R&D Chief – spoke with EngineeringNews about the future of the car industry and the future of electric vehicles and fuel cell-powered cars.

Fröhlich believes the world is likely to have an electric vehicle (EV) population of around 10% in the next ten years, but within the next half century, most drivers will be behind the wheel of an electric vehicle. And while most people will drive an EV, there will be decent sized group driving a fuel-cell hydrogen powered larger car.


BMW invited us this past July to see what the future of long-distance emission free mobility would look like. While in Miramas, France, we’ve had the chance to drive a 5 Series GT prototype powered by a fuel-cell hydrogen powertrain.

At the event, BMW emphasized that pure battery-powered electric vehicles are primarily used for city driving and short distances, while the fuel cell technology provides the ideal solution for customers looking for a high driving range with zero emissions. The technology is also aimed at cars larger in size, like those 5 Series and above models.

Now Fröhlich confirms that BMW is seriously thinking about fuel-cell hydrogen cars.

“For bigger cars, such as the X5 or X7, in environments where you need more range, a combination with a fuel cell is a good solution.

The first generation BMW X7 is expected to launch in 2017 while the first fuel-cell hydrogen car won’t arrive until at least 2020.