When BMW and Toyota announced that they'd be working together to develop the new Supra and Z4 models' platform, people flipped out. According to a report published Friday by Automotive News, it would appear as though that partnership will bear even more fruit.
Now, I don't mean there will be some kind of Toyota Corolla/M3 mashup. Instead, Toyota is lending BMW some of its extensive experience in hydrogen fuel cells to create the BMW i Hydrogen Next X5, which we've known about for a while, and now we know it's entering production with fuel cells made by Toyota.
You may be asking yourself why BMW would bother with hydrogen, which is fair, but the case for fuel cells is getting stronger all the time. Specifically, the convenience of filling up your EV like you would an internal combustion-powered vehicle -- in two or three minutes as opposed to 45 -- is not to be underestimated. As more manufacturers get involved in making hydrogen-powered cars, the hydrogen fueling network is likely to improve, especially in Germany.
The German government recently committed to investing 9 billion euros in improving the country's domestic hydrogen industry. That's a whole lot of bones, clams or whatever you call them. The country's push for hydrogen is part of a larger effort to generate 5 gigawatts (great Scott!) by 2030, then double that by 2035.
"We are convinced that various alternative powertrain systems will exist alongside one another in future, as there is no single solution that addresses the full spectrum of customers' mobility requirements worldwide," said Klaus Fröhlich, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Research and Development, in a statement. "The hydrogen fuel cell technology could quite feasibly become the fourth pillar of our powertrain portfolio in the long term. The upper-end models in our extremely popular X family would make particularly suitable candidates here."
The BMW fuel cell vehicle (FCV) is set to enter limited production in 2022.