BMW remains one of the few companies in the auto industry that still sees potential in hydrogen technology. The Bavarian automaker is continuing its development work on a fuel cell powertrain and it looks like a production model using that power unit is finally coming in the next few years. This is not just a prediction or assumption but a confirmation that comes from the CEO of the BMW Group.
Speaking during the recent launch of the Rolls-Royce Specter – the first battery-powered production vehicle to come from West Sussex – Oliver Zipse was happy to discuss the future of hydrogen technology within the BMW Group. Zipse confirmed to TopGear that a “decent hydrogen car” will be launched from BMW later this decade and also adds:
“We believe in hydrogen for many reasons. We believe that – and I’m speaking now from BMW’s side, but that applies to every brand in the Group – if you want to drive emission-free and you don’t have a charging station, this is the only possibility we have. In some areas it is easier to implement hydrogen infrastructure than electricity infrastructure, for example in areas where you have no connection to the electricity grid. For hydrogen, you just need a tank.”
BMW can be considered as one of the pioneer companies in terms of hydrogen development. The company’s first experiments with fuel cells began in 1978 but it wasn’t until 2000 that the first major efforts appeared in the form of the E38 750hL. Today, the German company is preparing to launch a hydrogen-powered version of the X5. Whether that’s a vehicle Zipse is worth talking about, we don’t know. However, we know that it should go into serial production soon.
BMW hydrogen seems inevitable at this point – at least this is the sign we’re getting from the automaker. But what about a Rolls-Royce with a fuel cell powertrain? “I would never exclude anything,” Zipse told the British publication. If you ask us, Rolls hydrogen doesn’t really sound possible at the moment, but it’s nothing to exclude for the future.