Hydrogen cars in the Middle East by end of the decade: BMW Chairman

Gulf Insider's Charlie Cooksey speaks to Oliver Zipse about BMW's push for hydrogen cars and its future plans

A BMW hydrogen vehicle is set to become available in the Middle East towards the end of this decade, marking the premium automobile brand’s entry into the hydrogen market. It appears BMW is closer to making its push for hydrogen a reality since it unveiled the iX5 Hydrogen concept car at the International Motor Show in Germany in 2021.

Responding to Gulf Insider at a media roundtable during the BMW 7 Series’ launch, Oliver Zipse, Chairman of BMW AG said that the global market is focused on seeing a reduction in CO2 emissions. “There will be regions around the world where a lack of charging stations, local regulations on emissions, and retaining your market share will leave you with hydrogen as the only viable option, especially for larger vehicles,” said Oliver Zipse.

Climate action has implored automobile giants to have their eggs in both baskets – electric vehicles and hydrogen-fueled cars. Experts believe there are some advantages of the latter – they can run for over 5000 kilometers, have shorter fueling-up times, and unlike the EVs, they’re resistant to colder climates. BMW’s argument scores a point on emission-free vehicles because once hydrogen is converted into electricity, the only by-product is water.

On the contrary, much has been discussed about hydrogen’s application being inefficient when compared to electric alternatives. However, Zipse stands his ground while saying “flexible architecture is key.”

The BMW iX5 Hydrogen

The international drive event was part of the BMW 7 Series launch in California where Oliver Zipse talked about a flexible, global strategy connected by architecture and technology that leads to a profitable brand. BMW launched the 740i Sedan, the 760i xDrive Sedan, and its electric i7 model.

Presumably, BMW’s biggest push since the model was launched back in the 70s, the 7 series welcomes the first electric model with a savvy digital station. “The new 7 series comes with functions you would like to have in your sedan – perfectly combining what you expect from a luxury BMW car and superior handling abilities catering to the customer’s taste and behavior,” Zipse added.

The BMW 7 Series

BMW’s new 7 series and i7 EV turn heads with a “controversial design” which to Oliver Zipse, is instrumental to sales. The upright front-end design, the shape of the grille, and the split headlights add to BMW’s new style language, sparking much debate about the design. Turns out, Zipse and his team have us right where they need us. He said, “There is no future-oriented design without controversy. A controversial design doesn’t mean people won’t like it.”


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