BMW and General Motors to join hands to produce new technologies

Thursday 15 December 2011, 15:59 PM by

According to a German magazine WirtschaftsWoche, BMW and General Motors will team up for producing new hydrogen fuel cells for passenger cars. General Motors is geared up to give rise to this technology and BMW will be funding it. BMW and General Motors have collaborated in the past along with Daimler to produce the two-mode hybrid system.

This hybrid system was fitted in General Motors large sports utility vehicles. Charles Freese, Executive Director, said that they have been working on fuel-cell systems for over 15 years and were looking for companies interested in this research.

General Motors has invested around $2 billion in fuel-cell research; however, it has never highlighted the company’s interest in hydrogen projects. It has always stressed immensely on battery-electric and plug-in hybrid powertrains. In 2010, General Motors had said that it was in the process of developing a fuel-cell system that would decrease the cost, size and weight of the fuel system. According to General Motors, the technology would be ready for production by 2015.

A General Motors and BMW alliance is most likely to happen, with General Motors doing the research and development in Germany. General Motors has launched around 20 hydrogen-powered cars in Germany. BMW also created hydrogen based sedans earlier that used liquid hydrogen.

Robert Rose, who is the Executive Director of Fuel Cells 2000 which is a non-profit advocacy group, said that the hydrogen system of BMW’s was not very competitive. He also said, “It developed cryogenic hydrogen, which turned out to be a non-starter, and now it’s playing catch-up, partnering with GM is a darn good way to catch up fast.”

This collaboration will be one of the many deals between BMW and other big automobile companies. BMW declared at the Tokyo Auto Show that it would team up with Toyota to produce lithium-ion battery. It will also form an alliance with PSA Peugeot Citroën to develop new hybrid technology.