Development boss Klaus Fröhlich confirms intentions to produce a 'large car with a fuel cell'
Sam Sheehan
7 September 2017

BMW will launch a large fuel cell vehicle in 2025 that could rival the upcoming Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell.

BMW has been researching fuel cell technology for several years and revealed an i8-based test vehicle in 2015 to illustrate its progress. But, today, the company’s development boss Klaus Fröhlich has signalled the brand's intent to put its zero-emission drivetrain technology into production.

“We intend on building a large car with a fuel cell in 2025," he said. "Fuel cells will happen, but how relevant they will be to BMW, we don't know yet."

Fröhlich explained that BMW believed only larger cars such as the X7, which was just leaked onto the internet today, were appropriate for such a powertrain, but added that this meant Rolls-Royce was also likely to benefit from the tech.

The new Phantom is built on a flexible platform, which should make it far easier to integrate a fuel cell-powered drivetrain into the current-generation car. No date has been revealed for when it could reach market, but Fröhlich promised that “there will likely be two steps in [fuel cell] technology - one in 2020 and the next in 2025”, suggesting it could arrive soon after one of these years.

BMW’s M performance division will also make the switch to electric power, with Fröhlich confirming that “BMW M models will be electrified in the near future”. However, he refrained from revealing how soon this electric performance model would arrive.

More content:

BMW readies radical battery technology for 2026 launch

Electric BMW X3 to join 3 Series, X4 and Mini in future EV range


Our Verdict

BMW i8
The BMW i8 joins the i3 as part of the firm's 'i' range of vehicles

Can BMW's baby hypercar blow the lid off performance convention?

Join the debate


7 September 2017

Steam-electric propulsion is a better bet. It is cheaper to buy and run. Simpler. Uses existing proven technology. Much quicker to develop. Doesn't need large batteries that are costly to manufacture and recycle.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Hyundai Nexo FCEV
    This is the new Hyundai Nexo FCEV
    First Drive
    20 February 2018
    The new Nexo SUV is a showcase for both hydrogen power and autonomous tech. Does that make it an appealing purchase?
  • Vauxhall Insignia GSi Sports Tourer
    This is the Vauxhall Insignia GSi Sports Tourer
    First Drive
    19 February 2018
    The Insignia GSi is Vauxhall's new performance flagship. Can this diesel estate version offer both pace and practicality?
  • Honda Civic Type R
    First Drive
    19 February 2018
    It’s a warm welcome to this steaming hot hatch. But is it too fiery for Britain’s roads?
  • Aston Martin DB11 Volante
    The DB11 Volante chassis' torsional rigidity is 22kN/deg, down from 34kN/deg on the coupe – but substantially more than the 14.7kN/deg of the DB9 Volante
    First Drive
    19 February 2018
    The DB11 Volante is the first convertible variant of Aston Martin's new model generation. How does it compare to the likes of the new Ferrari Portofino?
  • BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo front
    The new BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo
    First Drive
    16 February 2018
    The top-of-the-line 6 Series Gran Turismo has arrived in the UK, but does a more potent engine increase its unusual appeal?