BMW’s Hydrogen Babysteps Keep Fuel-Cell Cars in Slow Lane

BMW AG is showing off its first hydrogen-powered iX5 sport utility vehicles this year but still has some way to go to make the technology a viable alternative to battery-electric cars…

The German manufacturer plans to ship around 80 of the SUVs to Europe, Asia, the US and the Middle East for use in test drives and car shows, part of a drive to offer customers options outside of pure battery cars in the electric shift. Hydrogen vehicles are struggling to take off because of high costs and a fledgling fueling infrastructure.

That BMW’s test fleet remains small is a reflection of the difficulties hydrogen cars — a technology companies have worked on for decades — have been having breaking into the mainstream. Only around 60,000 of them are on the roads, with Hyundai Motor Co.’s Nexo the bestseller last year. That compares with a fleet of roughly 19 million battery-electric vehicles, according to BloombergNEF estimates.