German auto manufacturer BMW still relies on combustion engines, but the future for cars in cities is electric, according to the company’s Vice President Peter Lehnert.
“I think it’s always good to have different opportunities. Yes, we invest in the combustion engine. There might be chances for them in the future. For urban mobility, I’m sure it will be electric,” Lehnert told NE Global on the sidelines of the Transport Research Arena (TRA) in Lisbon.
“We need to invest in infrastructure so that electric mobility works. However, we need additional energy sources, or capacity, to organize mobility even for longer distances,” he said, adding that investments in hydrogen and e-fuels technologies already exist.
Ultimately, BMW wants to make mobility as comfortable as possible for consumers by offering choices that optimize an individual’s mobility footprint
Hydrogen vehicles can refuel quickly, giving them an advantage over electric vehicles, particularly regarding long-distance travel.
“We started researching years ago what kind of tank would be needed for hydrogen and how to produce it. It needs to be produced using green methods for it to become green with regard to mobility,” said Lehnert.
Hydrogen cars, like the CO2-free BMWiX5, are part of a fleet that is undergoing a long research and development process. and will not be sold to private customers.
For the time being, the hydrogen industry is being driven by a multi-pronged development strategy that includes the automotive industry, or as Lehnert stated, “The combination of green energy and hydrogen might be a perfect fit for the whole energy infrastructure across the European continent … By combining (Europe’s) energy grid and infrastructure together with automotive production, this mix ensures that mobility becomes green.