BMW preparing hydrogen fuel-cell EV

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Words: Nile Bijoux
2 Jul 2019

BMW will launch a hydrogen vehicle in 2025, with an X5-based FCEV preceding in the early ‘20s.

Klaus Frölich announced last week that BMW will test the hydrogen waters with a fuel-cell-powered X5, expected to be a low-volume model and expensive. The SUV will be the fruition of twenty years of hydrogen development, helped by tie-ups with Toyota.

According to Frölich, Toyota makes the “standard performance stack and we make the high-performance stack.” He added that the reason the hydrogen BMW won’t be ready until 2025 was the cost of fuel-cell stacks.

“It doesn’t make sense to scale the fuel-cell [X5] when the stack is 80,000 euros,” Frölich said. “It makes sense to scale when it’s 10,000 euros.”

As for branding, the FCEV vehicle could come with the ‘i5’ nameplate, long expected to be a mid-sized BEV, although BMW says it was always destined to be a hydrogen car.

“The i3 and i8 were solitary cars with solitary concepts – its first battery pack was only 22kWh,” Frölich said.

“BMW i will always make special cars. The pure i cars were one-offs, now and i4 is in the structure, but the pinnacle cars have to tell a story.

“The tricky thing with i is that it’s for “innovative” and BEV isn’t that anymore.”

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