BMW is investigating production of a hydrogen fuel cell version of cars on its coming Neue Klasse (New Class) full-electric platform, CEO Oliver Zipse said.
"In our view, hydrogen is the missing piece of the puzzle that can complement electromobility places where battery-electric drivetrains are unable to gain traction," Zipse said on the company's earnings call on Wednesday.
The first cars on the Neue Klasse platform are due in 2025 and will initially include a sedan similar in size to the 3-Series midsize car and a "sporty SUV," Zipse said on the call. "We could also imagine a hydrogen drivetrain for this new vehicle generation," he added.
BMW will start limited production at the end of the year of a hydrogen fuel-cell version of the X5 large crossover, called iX5 Hydrogen. "We are already thinking about a possible next generation," Zipse said.
BMW unveiled the iX5 Hydrogen prototype at the IAA mobility show in Munich in 2021.
The car combines a fuel-cell with a battery to give a combined output of 374 hp. Filling up the tanks takes three to four minutes, BMW said. The project was partly funded by the German government.
BMW is hydrogen's biggest advocate among German automakers as it plots a path to zero emissions. Others have been less keen on the drivetrain due to its high cost and the currently limited hydrogen refueling infrastructure. In 2020 Daimler said it would cease development of its GLC F-Cell fuel cell crossover.