BMW wants to be ready when buyers shift to hydrogen.

BMW is on track to introduce a hydrogen-powered production car in the next five years, one of the company's top officials has confirmed.

While many automakers are focusing solely on electric powertrains, BMW remains committed to bringing hydrogen fuel cells to the masses. The company has previously explained hydrogen is ideal for long-distance zero-emissions driving because filling up the tank takes about as much time as topping up a conventional gasoline- or diesel-burning car.

Details about the model are few and far between. It will be at least as big as a 5 Series, but we don't know whether it will be a standalone model or simply a hydrogen-powered evolution of an existing or upcoming car.

One of the main hurdles standing in the way of hydrogen cars is the complete lack of an infrastructure. The German government is committed to building more fueling stations, but BMW realistically expects its hydrogen-powered car will be a low-volume model, much like the Toyota Mirai is today.

The infrastructure is expected to grow at a rapid pace during the first half of the next decade, however. BMW predicts bringing a hydrogen car to the masses will be feasible after 2025, and it will be ready for the shift.

"Until 2025 at least costs will remain too high and the hydrogen infrastructure too sparse to allow broad-based market penetration. By the time the fundamentals are in place, the BMW Group will also have marketable products ready that are attractive to customers," BMW board member Klaus Fröhlich opined in an interview with enthusiast website BMW Blog.

Photo by Ronan Glon.