By TechThop Team
Posted on: 15 Aug, 2022
Nikkei Asia reports that BMW and Toyota are planning to collaborate to develop hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by the middle of the decade, according to a report published in the publication.
BMW sales chief Pieter Nota told the publication that the two companies will begin manufacturing and selling hydrogen fuel cell vehicles developed jointly by the end of 2025.
As part of the 2019 partnership, the automakers will develop the BMW Z4 sports car and Toyota Supra sports car, which is both based on BMW's X5 SUV.
With Toyota's eight-year-old Mirai mid-size sedan heading into its second generation, it has a wealth of experience with fuel cell technology. Hydrogen and oxygen are used to create electricity instead of an engine or a battery.
The advantages of fuel cells over battery-electric vehicles are numerous. As they can be refueled in three to four minutes, they can travel longer distances than other types of vehicles.
The current U.S. network of hydrogen stations is concentrated in the state of California, and even there they are just not ready for mass adoption because the infrastructure is not yet there.
The company has hinted that even though it has reentered the EV market with the i4 four-door coupe and iX SUV, it is also considering a hydrogen vehicle in the future and is planning to pursue this technology.
The company's CEO Oliver Zipse said on a recent earnings call that it will likely design its next-generation platform, Neue Klasse, to accommodate gaseous fuels in addition to pure batteries.
With a platform known as CLAR, the company was able to support both internal combustion engines as well as plug-in hybrids and full battery-electric propulsion systems before with a similar all-of-the-above strategy.
The CLAR system enabled BMW to move quickly on plug-in hybrids, but its recent efforts regarding pure electric vehicles have been delayed compared with its competitors.
The Neue Klasse may suffer from the same problems or it may be able to resolve them. Starting in 2025, when new 3-series sedans and X3 SUVs based on the platform are introduced, the market will decide.
The collaboration provides both companies with a hedge against potential losses associated with zero-emission vehicles. By the end of the decade, BMW hopes to sell half of its corporate brand EVs, including Rolls-Royce and MINI.
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