Auto industry - BMW brings hydrogen car on the road

The German car manufacturer BMW is sticking to hydrogen as an alternative to battery vehicles and wants to launch a small series in the coming year. BMW boss Oliver Zipse said at the virtual general meeting on Wednesday that an X2022 with fuel cell should be presented in 5.

"An economically attractive series use can result at a later point in time, depending on the general conditions, including the availability of green hydrogen," said Zipse. The Munich-based company is working with Toyota on fuel cells. Zipse said there is medium and long-term potential for the technology in long-distance use because refueling is faster.

Most car manufacturers around the world are turning to battery-powered vehicles when converting to more climate-friendly mobility. BMW is also expanding its range of electric cars; By 2030, half of the BMW vehicles sold should be powered by electricity. That means that cars with internal combustion engines played a role well into the 30s, said Zipse. "If the demand in certain markets shifts more quickly to battery-powered vehicles, we will be able to deliver." The return should not suffer, said CFO Nicolas Peter: In the long term, it should be between eight and ten percent in the auto business.

BMW not only met with enthusiasm among investors with this strategy. Daniela Bergdolt from the Protection Association for Securities Ownership asked whether the strategy of not turning BMW into a pure electric car manufacturer was not being too half-hearted. "We definitely have doubts whether the initiatives that have now begun with some delay will be sufficient to achieve the goal of 50 percent battery-electric vehicles in Europe by 2030", explained the DWS. BMW wants to become a leader in e-mobility and sustainability. "In order to meet this requirement not only locally but globally, ambitious goals must also apply to markets such as the USA and China," said DWS expert Hendrik Schmidt. While CO2 emissions in Europe shrank in 2020, they even increased in China and the USA. The high-margin M series has concluded the most successful year in the company's history. "Against the background of the sustainability goals that have been declared, this appears contradictory."

A lack of chips plays a minor role at BMW

The Munich-based company wants to arm itself against an increasing shortage of raw materials with the increased use of recycling material. The situation on the global raw material markets is very tense and will remain so, said Zipse. In view of rising raw material prices, the increased use of recycling material is not only an ecological but also an economic imperative. BMW expects higher prices, especially for steel, rhodium and palladium, in the second half of the year in particular.

The semiconductor shortage, on the other hand, plays less of a role at BMW than at many other car manufacturers. Zipse said his company ordered the necessary materials on time. “We expect that the suppliers will deliver in accordance with the contractual agreements.” However, production in individual plants was temporarily impaired by the fact that the winter storm in Texas and a major fire at a chip factory in Japan had additionally reduced the chip supply. (Reuters)