BMW Launching Low Volume FCEV In 2021

7 months ago by Chris Bruce 24

BMW 5 Series GT Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car (via BMWBlog)

Low-Volume BMW Hydrogen Model Coming by 2021

Multiple iterations of prototypes have been pointing to a production BMW fuel-cell vehicle for quite some time.

As the Toyota Mirai and Honda Clarity point toward a future of hydrogen-fueled motoring, BMW is now pointing towards having it own fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) on sale by 2021. Like its Japanese competitors, the German brand would start by offering the product in limited markets, but availability could expand significantly by 2025.

BMW CEO Harald Krueger didn’t offer specific details about the project, according to BMW Blog, but he said it would be for “larger model series and long distances.”

The largest problem with FCEVs continues to be the fueling infrastructure. Hydrogen is in a catch-22 where there aren’t enough vehicles using it for companies to build refueling stations, but consumers don’t want to buy the products until there’s a large enough network of places for reliably taking long trips.

BMW 5 Series GT Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car

“However, until 2025 at least costs will remain too high and the hydrogen infrastructure too sparse to allow broad-based market penetration,” BMW development boss Klaus Fröhlich recently said, according to BMW Blog. “By the time the fundamentals are in place, the BMW Group will also have marketable products ready that are attractive to customers.”

BMW has been developing fuel cell tech internally for quite some time, and its Hydrogen 7 was even a World Green Car of the Year finalist in 2007. The project got a big boost in 2013 when the German company partnered with Toyota for co-developing FCEV tech – another part of the same agreement outlined the upcoming BMW Z5 roadster and Toyota Supra revival.

In 2015, BMW showed off the success of this engineering by revealing a hydrogen-fueled i8 prototype. The rear-wheel-drive sports coupe reportedly made 252 horsepower (188 kilowatts) from its fuel cell stack driving an electric motor. The company showed off a 5 Series Grand Touring (pictured above) with similar technology that year, too.

Source: BMW Blog

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24 responses to "BMW Launching Low Volume FCEV In 2021"

  1. jelloslug says:

    Just around the corner!

    1. mx says:

      And Impressive way to blow money.

      1. SJC says:

        They are working with Toyota, more stations are opening in Southern California, limited production but a halo vehicle.

  2. arne-nl says:

    In other news, Fastned is trialing the next generation of fast chargers from ABB, up to 350 kW of power. That makes fast charging almost as fast as refueling an H2 vehicle.

    By 2021, it is likely these chargers and the cars that can use them are ubiquitous. As are EV’s with a >600 km range. What will be the advantage of a hydrogen car?

    Hydrogen is either derived from a fossil fuel or obtained from renewable energy through electrolysis-compression-transport, a process which loses about 2/3 of the energy. Both options are a losing proposition.

    1. Chris says:

      There is never energy lost. Hydrogen will become more interesting with high renewable share, especially to get rid of the last 10% of fossil fuels. In some climates you will need to shift energy from summer to winter, mostly for use as heat. Battery storage will not be a good choice for that. The transport sector can make use of that, however I think it will only become a niche…

      1. SJC says:

        Renewable energy contracts, electrolysis at dispensing points, larger battery packs, smaller less expensive stacks make a good combination.

    2. Four Electrics says:

      A hydrogen station charges at the equivalent of 6,000 miles an hour. 350 kW isn’t even close.

      1. Nick says:

        Reminds me of CNG fueling. The marketing says <5 mins, in reality it often takes more than 15 mins to get a partial fill.

        Not sure if H2 fueling is the same.

        In any case, 350 kW is close. 🙂

  3. Ziv says:

    Fuel cell vehicle in 2021… Not sure which aspect of that is more amusing.

  4. M Hovis says:

    A fuel cell already has the components of an EV which include regenerative braking and a smallish hybrid battery like those found in previous HEVs.

    Currently, with much less than 50 hydrogen fueling stations in the US, the simple solution would be to add a midsize battery to provide the best of both worlds. So why don’t they? The reason is that it would teach the owners an electrical lesson that they would carry with them toward future purchases.

    1. Four Electrics says:

      We may see that. My personal opinion is that nobody is going to buy a hydrogen car until there is sufficient infrastructure, and when there is people will go back to filling up for five minutes every two weeks, at their convenience, so I doubt the practicality of paying for and lugging around a five hundred pound battery that one won’t use.

      I plug in my cars at home, and it never ceases to be annoying. I have a Tesla and still have worries about range on certain days. I would much prefer the freedom of fueling adding 500 miles of range from stations along the way in a few minutes.

      1. Stimpy says:

        Do you really find having the option of charging at home MORE annoying than no option at all like with FCEV?

        Are you more often at home or on long distance trips?

      2. M Hovis says:

        I am a professed enthusiast who enjoys my 3 second plug-in time.

        If I had four electrics, I would be working toward an easier less annoying plug. Or even get a wireless setup from Plugless if it was annoying to me.

        Again, for me, it is so much better than the bi-weekly or weekly stop to enter my zip code, skip the carwash question, and no I don’t want a slurpy with that. Now that is annoying, IMO.

        Also as for range, I prefer the Volt over the current hydrogen offerings. On range, economy, fuel time, performance, GHG emissions, cost of ownership, and driving freedom, the Chevy Volt is the clear winner and will always offer more convenience, because lets face it, there is a growing number of enthuisast like myself who are always going to drive electrcic. There is also a group that is going to hold onto gasoline forever. So the opportunity to build out a hydrogen infrastructer will always be limited by these realties.

  5. John Hollenberg says:

    “As the Toyota Mirai and Honda Clarity point toward a future of hydrogen-fueled motoring”

    Corrected text:

    “As the Toyota Mirai and Honda Clarity point toward a future boondoggle”

  6. ffbj says:

    I think the best thing about FCEVs is that they make BEVs look good.

    1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

      Like sitting at charger or in line for charger for an hour or few makes it look great? When you can have exactly the same electric drivetrain and no worries if your battery is too cold or too hot or over 80% SOC to charge even at quick snail speed?
      You need to have really strong faith to believe in this “make look good”.

      1. randomhuman says:

        Like sitting at home plugging your car in having a full charge (238miles for example) the next day and waving that fool cell car owner while he has to drive 50 miles to the next hydrogen station hahaha…

    2. randomhuman says:


  7. Terawatt says:

    > consumers don’t want to buy the products until there’s a large enough network of places for reliably taking long trips.

    It’s a lot worse than that. Unlike electricity, hydrogen filling stations are not things most people have at home or at work, even to “trickle charge”. So far from being just a “long trips” worry, HFCVs are simply not possible to use in 99% of the world.

    Let’s hope it remains the case. Idiocy of the highest order…

  8. Roy LeMeur says:

    Oh boy! More snarky fool cell discussion! ?

    1. Dave86 says:

      Yesterday I bought an electric lawnmower. Got a nice one for $200. I wanted a fuel cell one, but those are always “just 5 years away”.

      Bought infrastructure for my new lawnmower, too. The 50 foot 15 amp extension cord set me back an additional $24.

  9. MikeG says:

    The whole scam of switching private transportation users to hydrogen depended on massive public financing of the fueling infrastructure.
    When that didn’t happen, I’m glad business was short-sighted and unwilling to invest their own profits to develop infrastructure that would enable them to sell FCEVs rather than BEVs.

  10. Stimpy says:

    BMW will sell hundreds of these!

    1. Dave86 says:

      More good news: Tesla will 100K’s of Model 3!