Hydrogen increasingly relevant for BMW

BMW annual conference Neue Klass hydrogen
BMW Annual Conference: hydrogen, a viable solution

At its annual conference, BMW presented its vision of energy transition, and unveiled the Neue Klasse X in the process. H2 Today spoke to the head of the group.

The online conference provided an update on the new Neue Klasse platform, which comes into effect starting from 2025 and will enable the rapid roll-out of 6 new electric models. It is still the ambition of BMW to generate half of its sales from electric vehicles by 2030. However, CEO Olivier Zipse acknowledged that demand was not linear and that the group was trying to be as flexible as possible. You can find his statement here.

During the Q&A session, H2 Today got the opportunity to ask Group Chairman Olivier Zipse a direct question. We asked him whether a decision had been taken to launch a fuel cell model. He told us that hydrogen was the fifth element in the Group’s strategy. There’s petrol, diesel, hybrid, battery electric and hydrogen. According to Mr. Zipse, there are regions of the world where this type of propulsion is developing faster, such as China. He said that this was an increasingly relevant solution, because of the much shorter recharging times compared with batteries. “Today, there continues to be debate about green hydrogen and blue hydrogen”, continued the BMW CEO.

Hydrogen as a viable future solution

According to him, the dominant model will be battery-powered electromobility. But he believes that hydrogen will be a solution that will have its own share “by the end of the decade”. The question addressed to Mr Zipse was a pertinent one, as BMW has already mentioned the fact that the Neue Klasse platform is compatible with fuel cells. Moreover, the CEO has already made several statements on hydrogen, sharing a positive outlook on the subject.

Mr Zipse did not give a direct yes or no answer about the decision. We can therefore assume that the date of 2027, recently suggested by the BMW Blog for a production version of the hydrogen-powered X5, was optimistic. In fact, at the end of 2027, the Munich plant will switch to producing only electric models. The availability of hydrogen, both in terms of production and distribution, remains a key factor in the decision. But the good news is that this solution is still supported at the highest level.

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About the author

Laurent Meillaud

Laurent Meillaud

Freelance automotive journalist and consultant, author as well, focused on technologies and new trends for more than 30 years, convinced that hydrogen is one of the energies for the future.

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