Hydrogen Central reports that the new fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) will be a direct competitor to Toyota's Mirai and to Hyundai's Nexo, some of the only FCEVs available in Japan right now.
Although a viable alternative to fossil-powered cars, due to their zero emissions output, their high range and fast refill times, fuel cell EVs have been developed at a fairly slow pace, especially compared to battery-powered cars. This is because the latter aren't as mechanically complicated to develop and lithium-ion batteries are being produced at a much larger scale compared to hydrogen and the fuel cells themselves.
The automotive industry shouldn't give up on hydrogen-powered cars, experts argue, due to their fast refill times, as it takes less than a few minutes to be back on the road again, compared to the tens of minutes or even hours it takes to fill the battery packs back up in a BEV.
FCEVs have their downsides, too, such as less efficiency, so the propulsion system of a hydrogen car has a rated efficiency of 34%, better than gasoline cars' 14%, but way lower than the 61% that battery-powered vehicles can achieve. This is something that the industry can overcome through research and development, but as it stands today, the lack of hydrogen capacity and the low energy efficiency means that these vehicles aren't ready to take over in large numbers on the roads.
BMW, who started building the iX5 Hydrogen last year, is one of the legacy manufacturers that believes that a broader approach to the electric vehicles market is the right choice for the long term, so both BEVs and FCEVs have their place in this growing industry.