BMW has thrown its weight behind hydrogen-powered vehicles as it said that electric cars will not work in some parts of the world.
The German car giant said it was “pushing ahead” with the development of hydrogen-powered vehicles, following a short-run production of a hydrogen version of its luxury X5 SUV late last year.
BMW is ramping up manufacturing to reflect that not all countries have enough charging points and the infrastructure to enable “all customers to switch to pure electromobility”.
The company wrote in its annual report, published on Wednesday: “Our world is full of diversity and individuality – why should mobility be any different?
“No one can stand on one leg for an extended period of time – never mind trying to walk like that. We firmly believe that the mobility of the future also needs at least one more leg to stand on, in addition to battery-electric drivetrains.
“We see hydrogen-electric vehicles as a meaningful complement to e-mobility.”
BMW follows Toyota and Renault in backing the gas as an alternative fuel to help the industry reach net zero goals.
Car manufacturers are hedging their bets amid doubts that electric cars can be produced in the volume needed and some signs of waning interest in the vehicles.
Softening petrol prices combined with high electricity prices have hit demand for EVs around the world.
While many countries are banking on electric cars as a green alternative for personal travel, hydrogen has potential in areas with unreliable electricity supplies or where large distances must be covered.
Hydrogen is an attractive energy source for a car since refuelling can be done in a few minutes and 6kg of fuel will take a car about 300 miles.
The fuel is also seen as a better bet for trucks and commercial vehicles, which need to cover long distances with as few stops as possible.
Renault unveiled a prototype SUV last year which could be in production by 2030 and set out an ambition to gain a 30pc share of the market for hydrogen cars in Europe by the end of the decade.
Toyota was a pioneer of hydrogen-powered cars, launching its £54,000 Mirai in 2014. However, sales outside Japan have been weak and the company recently committed to releasing more electric models as well.
Hydrogen refuelling stations are thin on the ground in Britain, with just seven for cars and a handful more for buses.
However, in Germany there are over 100 and more in development. China has the most globally, at more than 250, followed by Japan and South Korea.
BMW on Wednesday also said it was churning out electric cars ahead of schedule, with 15pc of cars sold this year expected to be battery-powered, rising to 20pc next year.
Mini and Rolls-Royce will be all-electric in less than a decade, the company added.
BMW said sales grew 28pc to €142.6bn (£124.5bn) and profit before tax rose 46pc to €23bn for 2022.
The company delivered 5pc fewer cars overall last year, but as with competitors from Aston Martin to Volkswagen, customers were willing to pay more for them.
Like Volkswagen, which reported higher revenue and profit earlier this week, BMW said logistics problems and high raw material prices were a burden.
However, it added that supply problems in computer chips and high energy prices could abate soon.