BMW has said that its first hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle will go on sale after 2020, and will likely be a large-sized sedan. The German carmaker also announced that it is currently developing a method to compress hydrogen further at ultra-low temperatures to increase its storage volume, allowing for an increased vehicle range before needing a refill.

BMW and Toyota are presently in a partnership that sees a joint-development of fuel-cell technology and a sports car project as well. Toyota has already introduced its own hydrogen fuel cell Mirai in late 2014, capable of a claimed 700 km range.

BMW’s most recent development included an i8-based hydrogen fuel-cell prototype that was revealed during its Innovation Days technology showcase in July. The prototype is said to have an operation range of 500 km. However, the end product to consumers, armed with the new hydrogen storage solution, could see that number exceed that of the Mirai’s.

Speaking to Reuters, Merten Jung, head of fuel-cell development at BMW, confirmed the hydrogen fuel-cell model’s expected debut. “It will be sometime after 2020. We don’t have a model yet, but as the character of our technology favours larger cars, our model will probably be something like a long distance car, a larger sedan,” he said.


In the past, BMW did produce the limited-number Hydrogen 7, which was a 7 Series that could be powered by both regular petrol as well as liquid hydrogen. When asked if BMW and Toyota would work together and produce a fuel-cell car together, Jung said it was very unlikely, as both carmaker’s are targeting different markets.

During its Innovation Days technology showcase, BMW also revealed it was experimenting with hydrogen fuel-cell technology on a fleet of 5 Series GT-based mules. The prototypes featured an electric motor developing 180 kW or 245 hp, with a hydrogen fuel tank storing gaseous hydrogen at low temperature and 350 bar pressure. The car had a range of 500 km.

Jung said, “at a certain point there needs to be a difference between Toyota and BMW, and where things need to be separate, but until that point, anything is possible.”