It was not a very public piece of news, but BMW has been working on hydrogen research since 1978. In 2000, the E38 750hL arrived. A fleet of 15 cars was launched in Berlin with a V12 engine that can function on gasoline and hydrogen. The vehicles were used as shuttles during the Expo 2000 in Hannover. The Hydrogen 7 came in in 2006 during the E68’s life cycle.
In 2022, BMW began in-house fuel cell production of the iX5 Hydrogen, and the aim is to develop a limited series of the hydrogen-fueled SUV. The company believes that it will have a bright future once the fuss around EVs reduces.
In an interview with Bloomberg, BMW’s head said: “After the electric car, which has been going on for about 10 years and scaling up rapidly, the next trend will be hydrogen. Hydrogen will be the hippest thing to drive when it’s more scalable.” He said that relying only on battery-powered EVs – available in Europe in 2035 would be a dangerous thing:
“For the customers, for the industry, for employment, for the climate, from every angle you look at, that is a dangerous path to go to.”
Toyota is also investing in the same research. The two brands are working on FCVs and will begin mass production in 2025. Earlier this year, BMW sales chief Pieter Nota told Asia Nikkei the Bavarian brand is working on “various projects” with the Japanese marque.
BMW and Toyota believe there’s still a future for combustion engines, especially in markets where the charging infrastructure is hard to provide.
BMW will incorporate the gasoline engine in Rolls-Royce models at the end of the decade. Mini will be going through the same path afterward in the 2030s.