BMW: “Hydrogen as an important option”

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Two years after the debut of the concept vehicle BMW I Hydrogen Next, the company presented the BMW IX5 Hydrogen at the IAA Mobility 2021 in Munich. The Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) with hydrogen fuel cell drive is currently still in its production process process, but shows the ambitions of the Group: So the Munich is consistently working on the development of hydrogen fuel cell technology as an additional, important option for sustainable, Individual mobility.

With appropriate conditions, hydrogen fuel cell technology has the potential to form another column in the drive portfolio of the BMW Group for Local CO2-Free Mobility. The BMW I, which is fully emission-free mobility, could in the future in addition to battery-electric models such as the BMW i3, the BMW IX3, the BMW IX and the BMW i4 also offer vehicles with hydrogen fuel cell drive. Assuming a generation of hydrogen with the help of regenerative energy and a corresponding infrastructure, this technology can provide a supplement to the electrified drive portfolio of BMW, and in particular met the requirements of customers who have no own access to electrical charging infrastructure, often on long-distance traveling or want a high flexibility.


BMW welcomes and supports activities to promote innovations in Germany and Europe, which serve to build a hydrogen industry and to forcize the production of green hydrogen. These include in particular the hydrogen projects summarized in the IPCEI (Important Projects of Common European Interest). The initiative of the European Union, which was funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport in Germany, forms the entire value chain with its projects – from hydrogen production, through the transport to applications in the industry. BMW development board Frank Weber explained in conversation with the online platform T3N that hydrogen drive will remain a niche and the Group will set on e-mobility in the long term.

However, he does not give a concrete timetable for the burner-out in the interview. But he meets the statement: “There is no way over the electric car.”The Bavarian PremiumAbsubauer thus continues to develop burners and from the end of 2022 a small series of fuel cell vehicles. It is certain, however, that the days of burners are counted in the long term among other things because of external specifications. As with other automakers, the main focus at BMW is now on the development of battery-powered cars.

“For the mass, hydrogen will not be a solution”

Weber is convinced that electric cars are the future. However, the switching from the burner to the electrician with a structural change is accompanied in, which takes a certain amount of time. “Without the construction of a nationwide infrastructure, E-cars could not enforce,” says talking to “The driving feeling will vote,” he is sure. Therefore, the plan for the development boss is clear: “We will already have at least one fully electric model on the street in 2023 in about 90 percent of our market segments today”. BMW does not want to put a complete focus on purely battery-powered cars for the time being.

Hydrogen is a serious alternative, so Weber looks specifically for larger vehicles a hydrogen drive. He says: “For the crowd, hydrogen will not be a solution”. Thus, hydrogen vehicles should have advantages regionally, such as in Japan, where the electric charging infrastructure is not sufficiently expanded. In parallel, the BMW Group in the past years has the range of plug-in hybrid models on almost all relevant vehicle classes – from the compact segment over the middle class and the BMW-X models to the luxury segment – expanded. The combination of an efficient combustion procedure and an electric motor makes it possible to resolve large parts of everyday traffic locally free of emission. Incentives for electrical driving delivered BMW also with digital services such as the “EDRive Zones” and the premium program “BMW Points”.

According to a report of the IEA (International Energy Agency), hydrogen offers significant potential as an energy source of the future as part of worldwide activities for the energy transition. Due to its storage and transportability, hydrogen can be used in a wide variety of applications. Much of the industrialized countries therefore pursue hydrogen strategies and stores them with roadmaps and concrete projects. In addition to battery-electric mobility, hydrogen can be a further technology option in the transport sector, with which long-term sustainable individual mobility can be shaped. The prerequisite for this is in addition to a sufficient and competitive generation of hydrogen from green stream, above all, the expansion of the corresponding tank infrastructure, which is already pushed intensively in numerous countries.


In Germany, according to enterprises, almost every fourth new car of the BMW brand and about 30 percent of all newly registered vehicles of Mini with an electrified drive. Worldwide, the BMW Group plans to bring a million fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to the street until the end of 2021. The proportion of purely electrically driven vehicles at the total sales of the BMW Group is expected to be increased by 2025 to more than 25 percent and up to 50 percent in 2030. Overall, the BMW Group wants to bring about ten million fully electric vehicles on the streets all over the world over the next ten years. New vehicle platforms are designed so that not only full-electric drives, but also plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell technology can be used therein. In addition, the BMW models introduced from 2025 should set new standards in addition to the sustainable drive technology in the areas of circularity and digitization.

“The handling of CO2 emissions has become a central evaluation factor for entrepreneurial action. We put together transparent and ambitious objectives for the substantial reduction of CO2 emissions validated by the Science Based Targets Initiative and provide an effective and measurable contribution, “says Oliver Zipse, chairman of the BMW AG Board of Management. “With the new class, we tighten our claim again and also undertake a clear course to comply with the 1.5 degree goal.”Against this background, the BMW Group also has almost doubled the delivery volume for battery cells – for the fifth generation of the BMW E-drive, the corresponding suppliers currently agreed a volume of € 22.36 billion.


Hydrogen drive in BMW IX5 Hydrogen

The BMW iX5 Hydrogen is in terms of hydrogen fuel cell drive a not to be underestimated model. The vehicle developed on the basis of the BMW X5 is to be used in a small series for demonstration and testing purposes from the end of the coming year. “With its high performance fuel cell and its optimized power battery, the BMW IX5 Hydrogen has a globally unique drive system,” explains Jurgen Guldner, Head of BMW Group Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology and Vehicle Projects. Its drive system uses hydrogen as an energy source and converts it into electricity in a fuel cell. In this case, an electric power of up to 170 hp is generated and released as the only emission water vapor. With this drive power too high speeds can be kept constant over longer distances. The electric motor comes from the fifth generation of BMW-EDRIVE technology, as used among other things in BMW IX. In push and brake phases, it assumes the function of a generator, which feeds energy into a power battery. For particularly sporty driving maneuvers, the energy stored in this power battery is also used. This provides a system performance of 374 hp.

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12 thoughts on “BMW: “Hydrogen as an important option””

  1. The combination of an efficient combustion drive and an electric motor

    I correct: the combination of an internal combustion drive and one efficient Electric motor

  2. I am convinced that BMW is on the right track. Diversification in the drives, especially about hydrogen, will most likely pay off.

    The EU plans a specification that hydrogen tank stations must be built at certain intervals to the highways.

    The topic also makes progress in the US. There, with the new packages, if you come through, besides charging columns also supported hydrogen tank stations.
    California is also clearly expanding the infrastructure. Subsidies for over 100 additional petrol stations have already been approved. Above all, the performance and size of the new gas stations in California is impressive and exceeds the capacity of the old partly by many times. 2-4 dispensers with 800-1600 kg storage capacity and without waiting between the tank operations, as latest technology.
    By the way, California has the 2. Greatest stock of hydrogen cars worldwide and it will be more.

    Only one example: USA: First element Fuel Launches Hydrogen Station in California (Petrolplaza.COM)

    And in Asia, in addition to Japan and Korea, China will be probably interesting in the near future as they quickly build the gas station infrastructure via their fuel cell commercial vehicle strategy. Alone Sinopec Plant 1000 to 2025 and has already started expansion.

    When Toyota then previews the Prius as a hydrogen plug-in hybrid and 2023 if necessary. Even the Corolla with the same technology, finally select and price better.

    Toyota to Launch Hydrogen-Powered Prius and Corolla in 2023 (Forbes.COM)

  3. He says: “For the crowd, hydrogen will not be a solution”.

    So, a complex and expensive solution for a few. So for people who are ready for mobility significantly more money to take.

    The proportion of purely electrically driven vehicles at the total sales of the BMW Group is expected to be increased by 2025 to more than 25 percent and up to 50 percent in 2030.

    Significantly too slow. According to climate scientists (not politics) we would have to be neutral 2035 already CO2. How to create that if you plant 2030 still 50% burning can be fed to me. Even 2045 CO2 neutral is then utopian. Because the cars are still a long time. So it has to run out on a company ban 2045. Who then buys 2035 still a new burner?


  4. BMW seems to continue on the occasion of the take-up of public funds (H2) on the one hand and confusion of the consumer on the other hand ..

  5. Hydrogen is obtained from water, water + fabric – so also a win-win situation for textile production ..
    or but from Danube institution?

  6. Continue so bmw. Build better than stinked diesel &# 128578;
    I’ve already driven the Toyota Mirai and that was a very good experience. In the luxury segment, there is an interesting market potential on the world market. Also in Germany there will be followers.

  7. Hydrogen cars are the wet dream of the industry: a lot of wear-prone technology, insane costs, guaranteed utilization of workshops due to immense maintenance effort, continuation of the dependence on monopoly structures. Energy waste in abundance (“Because we can afford it, your Looser.”..) For everyone else applies: on the Bev definitely leads no way over!

  8. I have only one question: where do they want to get the green hydrogen? In Germany, the share is so small that it is not even shown in statistics. And gray hydrogen causes more CO2 than a diesel.

  9. Problems with hydrogen cars:

    – A H2 car is also only an electric car with lithium battery. It would not work without a battery. Smaller batteries (6.5 Ah at Toyota Mirai) wear out faster, as a small battery per cell requires much higher currents and must deliver in recuperating / accelerating.

    – Efficiency of hydrogen car max. 22%. The pure electric car comes to over 80%.

    – burn hydrogen directly? The problems with hydrogen burning technology could not be solved today. In addition, this technique is again much more inefficient.

    – one needs 3-4x as much energy as the pure electric car.

    – range is the same as that of a rich-strong e-car, weight as well.

    – Hydrogen is produced today to 95% of natural gas. That is why hydrogen would be a lucrative business in parallel with crude oil in parallel with crude oil and the users pendant. Electricity from renewable we currently do not have left. If all cars would drive electrically, we would need 5 – 20% more electricity in Germany if all cars fuel cell electric cars would be 60-80% more.

    – Acquisition of a hydrogen car up to date (> 70.000 Euro) and maintenance (12 euros / 100 km) is 3x as much as the pure electric car (and even subsidized, usually even more expensive)

    Hydrogen cars have two pressure tanks with 700 (!) Bar pressure. Containers with such a high pressure are a significant risk of security, are elaborately manufactured and can hardly be recycled. These also take a lot of space in the trunk.

    – Compressed gas tanks require expensive, annual maintenance. H2 is very aggressive and corroded metals. Hydrogen diffuses through everything throughout. After a certain amount of life, each tank is empty.

    – life of the H2 stacks still uncertain, today was supposedly a maximum of 150.000km. Complicated technology, expensive inspections. Note – and this applies to everything: the more complicated a system is, the more faulty.
    A battery in the standard electric car keeps Mind today. 400.000km (with Tesla significantly more) The engines keep over a million. Km.

    – To produce a kilogram of hydrogen, you need 9 liters of water.

    – per fuel cell is 40-70 grams platinum
    necessary. For all cars worldwide, the platinum deposits were now not enough. Latest Development: Fuel Cells with Platinum and Cobalt. Current E cars (Z.B Model 3, Model Y) Use Cobalt-Free LFP Cells. The cobalt share in batteries sings annually.

    – Iridium for electrolyzers is also a rather rare and complicated raw material.

    – Human rights violations of platinum reduction in South Africa is on the agenda.

    – currently 100 gas stations in Germany, abroad as good as no. Refueling from your own roof, shopping, overnight (> 95%) at the employer etc. not possible. 1/5 of the petrol stations defective or empty.

    Hydrogen tank stations must not be set up in residential areas (explosion hazard) and the compressor makes an extreme noise. A tank process alone requires 15 kWh to electricity. Thus, an electric car already moves + -100 km.

    Hydrogen cars must always be refueled on these petrol stations that require massive electricity for cooling / pressure build-up. This would burden the electricity grid massively. Electric cars load max. 5% of your time on quick loaders, at 95% at home, shopping or employer. All this is not possible with hydrogen.

    – A hydrogen filling station costs 1-1.5 million euros (!) and needs to be complicated. An HPC fast loader (350kw) costs 100.000 Euro, a normal fast load column (<50kW) 20.000 EURO. Load at 230V socket overnight possible and 90% sufficient.

    – When refueling, like to freeze the lumpers, so it is recently heated, which in turn needed electricity.

    – When refueling, only the first one in 5 minutes, everyone else needs 30 (!) Minutes because the compressor must first build pressure. Only about 40 cars can be refueled in 24 hours. Already after only 40-120 cars, depending on the gas stations size, the hydrogen capture has to roll again and fill up the petrol station.

    – Constantly, trucks must roll to petrol stations. For delivery of hydrogen to the required petrol stations you would need 10x as many tankers as currently for gasoline / diesel.

    – A hydrogen car with the current mix is significantly more CO2 than the electric car, as it requires at least four times as much power for the same route.

    – The first hydrogen cars were developed in the mid-1990s and promoted with billions. (Film: Why did the electric car had to die)
    To date, the technology has hardly improved. The range with E-cars has increased tenfold in time, the energy density of the batteries quadruble.

    – Battery are already over 90% recycled today, electric motors keep well over 500.000 to 1. Mio mil. The fuel cells in the hydrogen car currently has a durability of max. 150.000km.

    – H2 is currently 99% made of natural gas, so not climate-neutral. 1 kg of hydrogen requires 55 kWh electricity. And 9 liters of water. Then it has to be transported to the gas station. For 100 km ride you need 1.2-1.6 kilograms of hydrogen, which is extremely much. There is the possibility better electrically for 4 euros / 100 km, with solar from the house roof for 2 Euro / 100 km. With hydrogen it is 12-15Euro / 100 km!

    -E cars can use the electricity directly on site, from the roof of the supermarket, the solar or wind turbine of a charging park, or own garage etc. For hydrogen eliminates this option, it must always be generated, circulated, transported, reversed, and can be compressed multiple times.

    https: // fisbeck.Wordpress.COM / 2020/07/20 / WHAT-TO-MIT HATROVE-OPERATED VEHICLES SPECIFICATIONS /?fbclid = iwar0p7p3ke3djefyq7jo2wsuvqjw_tdi83vwfahczqyicuml1w1v3usor3sq
    https: // m.focus.DE / Auto / ElectroAuto / News / Efaher-Chef-Erklaert-Waiting-on-the-Hydrogen-Car-Date-Hat-Technik-Non-Chance-counter-batteries_id_11365397.HTML

    Further sources are available without end.


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