We already know that BMW is quite serious about the hydrogen fuel cell technology. BMW remains fully committed to fuel cell technology, even though other constructors are putting off their plans in this area. The Munich-based carmaker is again reaffirming its interest in hydrogen-fueled powertrain.

Continue Reading Below

According to a recent report, BMW plans to offer its first serial, high-volume FCEV sometime after 2025 and expects to have a consistent lineup of such vehicles by 2030.

powertrain for the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT 07 830x554

In 2022, BMW will launch a limited, trial model based on the X5 Sports Activity Vehicle. Dubbed i Hydrogen NEXT, the fuel cell electric model will boast a 374 PS / 368 hp powertrain, just like the concept car presented at IAA Frankfurt in September 2019.

Jürgen Guldner, Senior VP in charge of hydrogen fuel cell technologies at BMW, offered more hints on the future FCEV projects: “We are yet to define which model is to be produced in 2025, but it will most certainly be a vehicle from the upper echelon.”

powertrain for the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT 03 830x554

He further went on to say: “Such a model would offer a consistent space to house the hydrogen fuel tanks. In addition, as development costs are higher, such a vehicle would enable a better absorption of the costs. Furthermore, the pricing of a future FCEV is still under discussions, as current efforts are oriented in the area of cost reduction.”

Could BMW use hydrogen to charge its electric cars?

Since 2013, BMW has partnered Toyota Motor Corporation to explore and develop new projects and models powered by hydrogen fuel cell. Toyota already offers the Mirai FCEV as serially produced car. It is clear that both companies are confident in the technology and that it will eventually succeed in becoming an attractive powertrain solution.

At the moment, the high development costs, the additional weight of the hydrogen fuel tanks and the relatively reduced refueling infrastructure are the most adverse factors for the FCEV technology.

As BMW previously explained, the prospects of having a series FCEV by 2025 is still on track. Given latest developments on this subject, we expect hydrogen fuel cell to be widely offered at first on a future generation of the X5, possibly followed by the X7 and maybe the X6 Sports Activity Coupe.

Until 2030, BMW should already offer a consistent lineup of hydrogen-powered electric models, if everything goes according to plan. Nonetheless, in the long term, BMW fuel cell electric vehicles could become a hit if all the relevant shortcomings are practically addressed and consistently eliminated.

We’ll follow closely on the development of the BMW FCEV technology.