Fuel cell powertrains 'could be as cheap as petrol in five years', says BMW's hydrogen VP

BMW has confirmed its plans to run a small fleet of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) based on the X5, by the end of 2022.

“We see fuel cells helping us to convert all our cars to zero emissions over the next two decades,” says BMW’s VP for hydrogen, fuel cell technology and vehicle projects, Dr. Jürgen Guldner.

“Fuel cells will add to our spectrum of powertrains for the future. We don’t see it as competition for the battery electric vehicle, but as a further offer to our customers.”

BMW joined forces with Toyota in 2015 to develop fuel cell technology. Its first-generation FCEVs comprised a small fleet of converted 5 Series GTs.

“We are already starting to work on the third generation with a clear challenge to bring down the cost to the point where we can enter the market,” says Guldner. 

Fuel cell systems are still considerably more expensive than the powerplants in conventional cars but after more than two decades of serious fuel cell development within the industry as a whole, Guldner thinks it is closer to equalising the cost to that of petrol or diesel, and that the point at which costs become comparable could be as close as five years’ time.

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