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BMW is introducing a trial fleet of the BMW iX5 hydrogen car throughout the world, including South Africa. The company views hydrogen cars as an addition to battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), not as a rivalry between the two technologies.

The iX5 Hydrogen pilot fleet is not meant for commercial use, but the German automaker has begun testing hydrogen-powered cars in South Africa. The hydrogen car trial was revealed during the regional meeting of the Hydrogen Council in Sandton, Johannesburg.

BMW has revealed that it will begin testing in collaboration with Anglo-American Platinum and Sasol. The Sasol BMW Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle, or Sasol BMW FCEV, is the name of the joint venture project. BMW and Sasol, a multinational integrated chemical and energy corporation, are working together to develop hydrogen fuel cell technology for electric vehicles.

According to Dr. Juergen Guldner, BMW Group General Program Manager, the company doesn’t see the hydrogen car as a rival to BEVs. Customers who travel frequently or do not have access to electric charging at home or work might find hydrogen cars to be the best option because they offer the benefits of electric driving together with the ability to recharge rapidly.

BMW starts FCEV prototype tests in South Africa

This partnership’s main objective is to hasten the adoption of FCEVs and support the construction of hydrogen infrastructure throughout South Africa. The joint venture expects to create a sustainable transportation ecosystem by utilizing BMW’s FCEV technical experience, Sasol’s hydrogen production expertise, and Anglo American Platinum’s supply of platinum group metals (PGMs), which are essential for FCEVs.

This program is in line with the government of South Africa’s green hydrogen economy policy, which attempts to reduce carbon emissions, draw in investments, create jobs, and increase demand for vital metals. Under the agreement, Sasol will supply mobile refueling solutions and renewable hydrogen, and BMW will deliver FCEVs. After significant development work, these cars will go through real-world testing to assess the BMW iX5 Hydrogen’s performance.

A new age of environmentally friendly transportation in South Africa is going hand in hand with Sasol’s hydrogen production capabilities. Along with the demonstrated productive operation of its Sasolburg facility and BMW’s state-of-the-art FCEV drive technology, there is a great deal of potential for the partnership to change both the energy and automotive sectors in South Africa.

Additionally, the partnership hopes to lower carbon emissions, boost demand for locally based materials like PGMs, and drive economic growth through investment and job creation by encouraging the adoption of hydrogen-fueled mobility solutions.

The BMW Group’s most potent passenger hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) in the world is the BMW iX5 Hydrogen. The small series fleet is being utilized to obtain important insights about the customer experience and operation of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. Furthermore, the program underscores South Africa’s resolve to halt climate change and move toward a low-carbon future.

The Hydrogen Economy in South Africa

The goal of Anglo-American, a South African firm, is to transform and improve people’s lives. Their Sustainable Mining Plan serves as the foundation for this, outlining how they mine and handle their output to create a more sustainable company throughout their whole value chain. The three main pillars of the Sustainable Mining Plan are in line with the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN.

To address this, the Anglo-American company is striving to create a more sustainable, cleaner, and greener planet while also taking significant steps to decarbonize the industry. The framework is focused on placing a strong emphasis on developing the hydrogen economy, a sector that has the potential to be very important in the transition to sustainable energy.

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