Much like Toyota and Honda, BMW believes hydrogen can play an important role in the future of the car industry in the context of curbing emissions. It’s currently testing a fleet of nearly 100 iX5 prototypes all over the world, its latest effort in its hydrogen ambitions that started in the late 1970s with an E12 5 Series prototype.
In addition, it has said its Neue Klasse platform is being developed to support not just battery-powered electric vehicles but also EVs equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell. Speaking with Top Gear magazine, BMW board member Milan Nedeljković revealed the Munich plant will be able to accommodate hydrogen vehicle production should the necessity arise.
“Hydrogen remains an important alternative. That’s why we have a fleet of hydrogen cars out testing and why we’re working intensively on improving the technology further. Alternatives need to be considered; that’s why we keep our facilities flexible to hydrogen and to other technologies. We won’t invest in internal combustion technology if there are no new combustion engines coming, but it’s crucial that we stay flexible on the production line for whatever may come.”
BMW Plant Munich will start the assembly of a Neue Klasse model in 2026 with a 3 Series-sized electric sedan. By the end of 2027, all vehicles manufactured there are going to be EVs. It’ll be the company’s first factory to switch entirely to electric cars. Currently, the facility produces about 1,000 cars each day, from the 3 Series and 4 Series lineups. The family includes not only the M3 Sedan/Touring and M4 models but also the 4 Series Gran Coupe-based i4.
Previously, BMW Group chairman Oliver Zipse said the company would commence series production of a hydrogen model by the end of the decade: “In this decade there will be a viable product from BMW with hydrogen. You will see that. We believe in hydrogen for many reasons. We believe that – and I’m speaking now from the BMW side but that ends up being for every brand in the Group – if you want to ride emissions-free and you do not have a charging station, this is the only possibility we have.”
High-ranked officials have suggested that hydrogen technology is more suitable for large and heavy vehicles, alluding that a production model would take the shape of an SUV. The iX5 Hydrogen might be a sign of things to come. Whatever the case may be, BMW is not giving up on this alternative EV technology.