Britain must back the roll-out of hydrogen filling stations in the UK or risk falling behind Europe and Asia in the race to roll out greener vehicles, BMW has warned.
Jurgen Guldner, manager of hydrogen technology at the Munich-based carmaker, told the Sunday Times that “if the UK government wants to decarbonise,” it must “get a hydrogen strategy, decarbonise the commercial vehicle sector and roll it out to passenger vehicles.”
Guldner said that with the right infrastructure, BMW would be ready to bring cars to market in the UK, but warned that “if there’s no hydrogen fuelling stations in the UK, we will bring the cars to Japan and Korea and the rest of Europe, where there is a fuelling station network being built.”
The comments from one of BMW’s senior executives and manager of the companies’ hydrogen programme, come amid scepticism of the UK government’s infrastructure roll-out and plan for the technologies implementation.
Currently, there are only 12 hydrogen filling points in the UK open to the public.
In April, the HGV sector hit out at government after revelations that there was not a single HGV-dedicated hydrogen filling point on Britian’s A roads and motorways.
What we’ve seen in the last few months is stations closing in the UK because there’s not enough consumption,” Guldner told the Sunday Times. “So we’ll have to see if the commercial vehicle sector is able to kickstart it.”
In December, the Science and Technology Committee called on the government “give industry the clarity that it needs,” on the role of hydrogen in the UK economy, although it expressed misgivings over its economic viability for mass use in the short and medium term.
In April, the chairman of JCB accused the Prime Minister of “ignoring the hydrogen opportunity,” amid decisions by the government to prioritise battery technology,” instead.
“We need a similar commitment from the UK Government to ensure that the hydrogen opportunity can be harnessed in this country, while helping to tackle climate change,” Lord Bamford warned at the time, arguing that jobs would be put at risk.
BMW believes that although battery-electric vehicles will play a major role in the move to zero-emission vehicles, hydrogen will also become much more relevant as time progresses.
At the end of 2022, the carmaker began production of its BMW iX5 hydrogen car and is currently aiming for series production of vehicles using hydrogen fuel cell technology.
The government was contacted for comment.