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BMW presenting prototype hydrogen fuel cell drive module at upcoming Detroit Auto Show

Among its offerings at the upcoming North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit next month, BMW will present the prototype of a drive module for electric hydrogen fuel cell drive systems for the first time.

In 2013, BMW Group and Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) signed binding agreements aimed at long-term collaboration between the two companies for the joint development of a hydrogen fuel cell system, among other technologies and vehicles. These agreements follow a memorandum of understanding signed in June 2012. (Earlier post.)

Under that agreement, BMW and TMC are to share their technologies and jointly to develop a fundamental fuel-cell vehicle system, including not only a fuel cell stack and system, but also a hydrogen tank, motor and battery, aiming for completion in 2020.

The primary focus of the show stand, however, will be the world premiere of the new BMW 6 Series Convertible, Coupe and Gran Coupe, as well as the new BMW M6 Coupe, BMW M6 Convertible and BMW M6 Gran Coupe high-performance models.



The car manufacturers are doing the same mistake they did with petrol, they begin to build cars without controlling the fuel infrastructure. Before building hydrogen cars they have to sort out the future hydrogen infrastructure and today we don't have a single clue of what the hydrogen infrastructure will look like at all. What is the cost of one kilo of hydrogen, how it's made and stocked. Today we don't know how the hydrogen station works and why it cost a million or more to build one station. CAN THEY PRODUCE sufficient endless quantity.

I won't buy a hydrogen fuelcell car before knowing how a kilo of hydrogen cost and how it's made. When I buy a car I keep it 20 years or more. Actually there is no hydrogen cars that are selled but only a handful are only rented. It prove that the consumers are only renting them for leisure purpose and car manufacturers are only producing them for temporary carbon credit. This is a financial catastrophy beginning to happen.
Also the manufacturers and government researchers are hiding all the numbers and facts concerning hydrogen. A kilo of hydrogen is maybe costing 20$ to make and distribute. This is unsustainable.

Roger Pham

With renewable energy electricity PPA price at 4 cents per kWh, a kg of H2 will have a raw energy cost of $1.77 and a production cost of about $2.20 using the new French electrolyzer at over 90% efficiency. Adding profit and tax and a retail price of $3.5 per kg of hydrogen would be reasonable, that will allow you to drive 70-mile distance, for a low cost of 5 cents per mile.

The mark up of $1.3 per kg of H2 is 37% of retail price and is quite high. Assuming 7% tax, then the profit margin will be 30%. Much higher than current profit of the oil industry at 23%. The good profit margin will ensure that the oil and gas industry will invest in the hydrogen infrastructure in the near future. Do not worry!

I greatly admire BMW, but this is auto show window dressing, not a consumer product.

@Roger, I admire your persistence, but where are the data to back up these claims?

Here's what NREL has to say about it:

Hydrogen is over $13kg at the newest H2 fueling facility in California. The $2,500,000 facility can service up to 70 cars per day. How many of these will be built? What will the ROI be of these facilities? It's pretty dismal at the anticipated rate of H2 FCV rollout (a few hundred per year each for Toyota, Hyundai and Honda)

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn shares his well-informed view about hydrogen here:

Roger, if hydrogen is in the "near future", why is the Toyota R&D chief on record as estimating that FCV won't be competitive until 2030?

Corrected Ghosn URL:

Roger Pham

I did the calculation myself, and the following supports it:
"Hydrogen cost is projected at £4.19/kg, a 32.7% reduction from last year’s £6.23/kg, within a 10 year capital amortisation period and £2.69/kg, a 22.9% reduction from last year’s £3.49/kg, after capital amortisation. Source:

Many companies give conservative estimates but often are able to beat them by wide margins.

Roger Pham

As to Mr. Ghosn and Mr. Musk, they have no choice but to publicly denounce FCEV so that they can protect their current investments in BEV techs, because they are far behind in FC development.

Roger, who are you kidding?

I quoted real-world prices from the most recent H2 fueling station built, just opened this week! See the Scientific American article if you'd like a more authoritative source.

You have failed to answer a single one of the quite valid and astute questions Ghosn raises in the Bloomberg video clip.

The Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Tucson FCVs lease for $500. The majority of BEVs are now under $200. The BEVs can use existing infrastructure, and can be powered by zero carbon hydro, wind, solar, geothermal and nuclear.

EV charging stations cost 1/100 of H2 stations, and can be sited almost anywhere.

How does H2 ever win in the real world?


If recent electrolizers can be over 90% efficient, it should be possible to produce lower cost H2 with lower cost (off peak demand hours) electricity.

In the not too distant future, the cost of high efficiency electrolizers, mid-pressure storage tanks and high pressure compressors will probably go down enough to produce H2 at a price competitive with day time electricity.

@roger, according to the ITM example you posted, the commercial electricity cost for the hydrogen would be $6.60 per kg in California. That's before compression to 10,000 psi, (add another $2kg according to NREL, link above), equipment amortization or retail dispensing costs.

Which is why Linde charges the automakers $13.59 per kg for hydrogen dispensed from the newest California H2 dispensing station, about $6.80 per gallon equivalent.

This is at a time when natural gas prices are near near recent historic lows, and gasoline is back down to $2.50 per gallon in the region.


It a shame you can't have an intelligent conversation on here without getting a flood of worthless comments from people like electric-car-insider and Engineer-Poet. They drive the smart people away.

BMW will apparently not be showing the FCV at Detroit after all.

@Harvey, if producing H2 at off peak results in a fuel that costs as much as electricity on-peak, how will that be a competitive option?

That EV users fuel off-peak overnight is what enables them to drive for ~$1 per gallon, $0.04 per mile.

With H2 users driving at $0.26per mile, the fuel cost premium is $3,300 per year, $39,600 over the 12 year life of the car.

What reasonably well educated consumer is going to go for that deal?

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