BMW, Anglo American Platinum, and Sasol team up to boost FCEVs in SA
BMW has made considerable investments in electrification, but the Munich-based company has also been looking at alternative powertrain technologies, such as hydrogen fuel cell electric powertrains.
BMW has developed hydrogen fuel cell technology-powered vehicles such as the iX5 Hydrogen as an alternative to fully electric cars of this world, and while the tech in itself is infinitely complex, it has proven to be environmentally friendly in other markets. Essentially, water is the only byproduct of this energy-generation method.
BMW SA, Anglo American, and Sasol SA Limited have recently signed a collaboration agreement that will see hydrogen fuel cell electric cars (FCEVs) brought to the market in addition to supporting hydrogen refuelling technology in the country.
The agreement, signed at the 2023 SA Green Hydrogen Summit in Cape Town, will ensure that BMW provides FCEV vehicles while Sasol supplies green hydrogen and mobile refuelers. According to BMW SA, the iX5 will operate on local roads as part of an international trial to understand how the SUV performs in real-world conditions.
What’s Anglo American Platinum’s role? You wonder. Well, the entity has been investing in hydrogen technologies for many years and it will work closely with the German manufacturer and Sasol to help develop a local green hydrogen mobility ecosystem.
“Sasol, BMW and Anglo American Platinum recognise the urgency of addressing climate change, and this agreement demonstrates our commitment to revolutionising the energy sector by exploring and promoting cutting-edge solutions. As an organisation that has been producing and marketing hydrogen for more than 20 years, we know hydrogen. We produced our first batch of green hydrogen at our Sasolburg facility in June, and in 2024, we will ramp this up to commercial scale when a 69MW wind farm, situated in the Eastern Cape, comes online”. So says Sasol's Executive Vice President for Energy Business, Priscillah Mabelane.
With regards to the BMW iX5 Hydrogen, it can travel up to 504km between refuelling, which BMW says takes less than four minutes. This should be ideal in real-world situations, taking into account that EVs take considerably more time to fully recharge.
The agreement between the three companies is another step towards accelerating the uptake of FCEVs, and the move will help lower emissions, unlock investment opportunities, and create jobs in SA. The first hydrogen fuel cell cars are expected to arrive in South Africa in 2024.