BMW to Cooperate with GM on Fuel Cells

We’ve seen this rumor floating around for the past couple days and held off on reporting it until it seemed completely viable. However with both sides now specifically not denying the claims, it appears true. The story originally the German newspaper Wirtschaftswoche but has since spread throughout the web. According to the report GM and BMW would collaborate on hydrogen fuel-cell technology. The interesting thing there is that BMW recently slowed it’s Hydrogen program down to a crawl after switching gears to focus on the electric BMWi sub-brand (which was previewed by the MINI E). With this agreement BMW will be leveraging GM’s work in the field by simple contributing towards the research costs.

Here’s a quote form the New York Times recent report:

“I can confirm that we have had discussions with BMW that have included fuel-cell technology,” said Charles Freese, G.M.’s executive director for fuel-cell activities, in a telephone interview Tuesday. Mr. Freese said that G.M.’s efforts were focused on containing the costs until it could be scaled to higher volumes. “Finding others who can use the fuel-cell systems we’ve been working on for 15 years is a good way to advance it,” he said.

It would appear that both GM and BMW view this technology as a long-term play rather than something we’ll see in the next decade.

As far as joint-ventures go this is now BMW’s 3rd public tie-up with another automaker regarding alternative fuels and propulsion. First it was PSA and the hybrid petrol power plants that we’ll likely see in MINIs. Then most recently it was with Toyota and sharing hybrid technology in exchange for diesel tech. Now it’s GM and the slightly more distance future with Hydrogen. Will we eventually see that in MINIs as well? It’ll be a costly solution and the infrastructure needed is immense. But it certainly makes sense long-term given BMW’s commitment to Hydrogen over the years.

You can read more at the New York Times.

  • Anonymous

    fuel cells play well with the electric drivetrains BMW has been developing

  • Chris Underwood

    It’s good that manufacturers are working together to further development of alternative fuel technology – that’s really what it’ll take for it to get anywhere.  That said, if I was looking for quality engineering I don’t think GM would be my first stop.