New hydrogen-powered BMW coming to South Africa

 ·16 Oct 2023

BMW, Anglo-American Platinum, and Sasol will work together to bring a green hydrogen-powered electric car to South Africa, which will offer some of the benefits of a petrol- or diesel-powered car.

South Africa has the potential to be a major player in the Green Hydrogen world as it holds roughly 80% of the world’s platinum group metals (PGMs) and 40% of the world’s platinum and palladium supplies, which are key components in the making of green hydrogen.

Private companies are also getting involved with the companies above signing a collaboration agreement at the Green Hydrogen Summit in Cape Town, bringing hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and hydrogen refuelling technology to the nation.

As per the agreement, Sasol said that it will supply the green hydrogen and mobile refueler, whilst BMW provides the hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles – the BMW iX5 Hydrogen.

The vehicles will drive on South African roads as part of an international trial to see how the BMW iX5 Hydrogen performs in real-world situations.

Anglo American Platinum, which provides PGMs used in FCEVs, will work with BMW and Sasol to create a logistics system for the local green hydrogen market.

The companies said that the growing green hydrogen market forms a key part of the South African government’s green hydrogen economy strategy, which will unlock investment, lower carbon emissions, and drive demand for PGMs.

Speaking at the Summit, President Cyril Ramaphosa said that the green hydrogen industry could add 370,000 jobs despresedly needed jobs and reduce the country’s emissions by between 10% and 15%.

Sasol Executive Vice President for the Energy Business, Priscillah Mabelane, said that the group was able to produce its first green hydrogen at its Sasolburg facility in June of this ear, with it expected to ramp up the commercial scale in 2024 when its 69 MW wind farm in the Eastern Cape comes online.

“One technology on its own will not be enough to enable climate-neutral mobility worldwide. As a versatile energy source, hydrogen has a key role to play on the road to climate neutrality,” Peter van Binsbergen, CEO of BMW Group South Africa, said.

“We believe South Africa – with its abundance of raw materials and sound infrastructure base – is ideally placed to deliver on the Green Hydrogen Economy’s promises.”

FCEVs benefit from short refuelling times and long ranges, similar to using a diesel or petrol vehicle, but with the added benefit of zero emissions,” Craig Miller, CEO of Anglo American Platinum, added.

However, South African consumers should not expect to purchase BMW iX5 Hydrogen in the near future.

TopAuto reported that BMW will not be offering a production vehicle until the second half of the decade, at the earliest, depending on market requirements and overall conditions.

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