In our July blog we asked 'What happened to Hydrogen?' and reported on the major benefits and there are major benefits to Hydrogen Fuel compared to Electric and Hybrid vehicles, so why are there only 2 model choices available in the UK, the Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo, both incredibly expensive.
With an infrastructure of only 12 Hydrogen filling stations in the UK we questioned whether we would ever see a true and even cleaner alternative to Electric Vehicles.
After a couple of years hinting that they may move forward with Hydrogen Fuel Cell technology BMW have now officially announced that they have started production of a small number of the BMW iX5 Hydrogen.
BMW reports 'Hydrogen fuel cell technology is used in the new BMW iX5 Hydrogen, which will be built in a small series in 2022 and used worldwide for test and demonstration purposes. The vehicle impressively demonstrates the major leap that BMW Group has made over recent years in the area of fuel cells."
Confirmed by Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG for Development: “Our many years of research and development work have enabled us to get the very most out of hydrogen technology. We have managed to more than double the fuel cell’s continuous output in the second-generation fuel cell in the BMW iX5 Hydrogen, while weight and size have both decreased drastically.”
The fuel cells will in fact be supplied by Toyota Motor Corp but they have been developing the technology side by side since 2013 and hats off to them for dipping there toe in the water.
The situation is very much a chicken and egg scenario, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the Toyota Mirai recorded only 2 registrations in the first half of this year. With these types of low sales and the investment required to produce new Hydrogen technology there won't be many manufacturers creating more model choice for the car buying public and with only 12 current Hydrogen re-filling stations in the UK the infrastructure will have to increase exponentially to be a viable ownership alternative.
As Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG commented the advantages of Hydrogen fuel cells are immense even over Electric Vehicle's and we hope he's correct in his opinion;
“As a versatile energy source, hydrogen has a key role to play on the road to climate neutrality. And it will also gain substantially in importance as far as personal mobility is concerned. We think hydrogen-powered vehicles are ideally placed technologically to fit alongside battery-electric vehicles and complete the electric mobility picture. By commencing small-scale production of fuel cells today, we are demonstrating the technical maturity of this type of drive system and underscoring its potential for the future.”
So top marks to BMW as well as Toyota and Hyundai of course. Fingers crossed this actual true 0% emissions technology will progress as it should.