We ‘ve seen this rumor floating around for the past couple days and held off on reporting it until it seemed completely viable. However with both sides now specifically not denying the claims, it appears true. The story originally the German newspaper Wirtschaftswoche but has since spread throughout the web. According to the report GM and BMW would collaborate on hydrogen fuel-cell technology. The interesting thing there is that BMW recently slowed it ‘s Hydrogen program down to a crawl (although BMW ‘s focus was on hydrogen combustion rather than Fuel Cell) after switching gears to focus on the electric BMWi sub-brand. With this agreement BMW will be leveraging GM ‘s work in the field by simple contributing towards the research costs.
Here ‘s a quote form the New York Times recent report:
>“I can confirm that we have had discussions with BMW that have included fuel-cell technology,” said Charles Freese, G.M.’s executive director for fuel-cell activities, in a telephone interview Tuesday. Mr. Freese said that G.M.’s efforts were focused on containing the costs until it could be scaled to higher volumes. “Finding others who can use the fuel-cell systems we’ve been working on for 15 years is a good way to advance it,” he said.
It would appear that both GM and BMW view this technology as a long-term play rather than something we ‘ll see in the next decade.
As far as joint-ventures go this is now BMW ‘s 3rd public tie-up with another automaker regarding alternative fuels and propulsion. First it was PSA and the hybrid petrol power plants. Then most recently it was with Toyota and sharing hybrid technology in exchange for diesel tech. Now it ‘s GM and the slightly more distance future with Fuel Cells. Mercedes Benz has been one of the leading pioneers into Fuel Cell technology in automobiles, offering the technology in their A/B class vehicles. Likewise GM has had a test fleet of Chevy Equinox SUVs that are powered by Fuel Cells undergoing real world testing for the past several years. Fuel Cell are expensive to build and currently have a limited life span although recent break throughs have made them more viable. BMW would also be able to adapt its BMWi vehicles for use with fuel cells easily so this deal makes great sense at this time.
You can read more at the New York Times.