The boss of BMW says the company is investigating new powertrain solutions for its next-generation zero-emission vehicles, including fuel cell-powered electric motors.
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BMW Group CEO Norbert Reithofer says integrating fuel-cell technology into its electric vehicles will allow them to travel further distances than conventional EVs like the recently revealed BMW i3 and plug-in hybrids like the upcoming BMW i8 sports car.

While vehicles equipped with fuel-cell powered electric motors require refuelling (unlike today’s lithium-ion battery-powered EVs), Reithofer said the technology would enable long-distance, zero-emission travel and short refuelling times.

He said Japanese partner Toyota would be involved in the development of any future propulsion systems related to fuel-cell technology.

Reithofer also reaffirmed the company’s belief that developing purpose-built vehicle architectures – like that of the i3 – was “the right approach” for future electric vehicles.

He said BMW Group was on track to launch 25 new vehicles – including 10 all-new models – in 2013 and 2014, including the BMW brand’s first front-wheel-drive model based on the Active Tourer concept. Reithofer said BMW’s range will have tripled in size by 2020 compared with its 2005 portfolio.