BMW Developing Production-Grade Fuel Cell Car For 2020

BMW is moving forward with plans to develop a fuel cell car by 2020 that is suitable for production.

According to Auto Express, a senior source with BMW confirmed the company is developing a fuel cell vehicle (FCV). The first rendering, however, isn’t likely to take the next step to production.

“We will still be developing the technologies and doing everything else behind the scenes, but we will pass on the chance to do a production car from the first generation of the development,” Auto Express quoted the source as saying.

“We are betting on the second generation of the technology being right for production, so our target is 2020.”

That doesn’t necessarily solidify the carmaker’s plans to offer an FCV for sale. BMW’s head of sales and marketing, Ian Robertson, has previously talked about the automaker’s FCV plans. He noted that BMW may build production-grade FCVs as an experiment, but said a lack of fueling stations will prevent hydrogen vehicles from becoming a strong seller.

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“We’ve said we’ll continue to invest in hydrogen and that will result in a small number of production test vehicles being made to prove the technology works,” said Robertson last December. “The real issues lie not around what we can do, though, but whether the infrastructure can be built up to supply hydrogen in the marketplace cost-effectively.”

Robertson said he believes battery electric vehicles are the more promising technology type of the two, adding that advances in lithium-ion batteries will ultimately overcome shortcomings with charging and range.

To strengthen its market share, BMW has recently been finding creative ways to make it easier for consumers to buy its electrified vehicles. In Japan, the i3 can be purchased online through Amazon. And a recent facility in California has become the first BMW dealer to focus solely on electrified vehicles, selling and servicing the plug-in i8 and battery-electric i3.