Manufacturing and Energy

Hydrogen fuel cell electric cars coming to South Africa courtesy of BMW Group

A collaboration agreement was struck by Anglo American Platinum, BMW Group South Africa, and Sasol South Africa Limited to deliver hydrogen fuel cell electric cars (FCEVs) and related hydrogen refueling technology to South Africa.

BMW will offer the hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles under the terms of the agreement, which was inked at the 2023 South African Green Hydrogen Summit in Cape Town, while Sasol will provide the green hydrogen and mobile refueler.

Following four years of development work, these vehicles will drive on South African roads as part of an international trial to determine how the BMW iX5 Hydrogen performs in actual driving situations.

Anglo American Platinum will collaborate closely with BMW and Sasol to create a local sustainable hydrogen transportation ecosystem. Anglo American Platinum produces the platinum group metals (PGMs) required in FCEVs and has long invested in hydrogen technologies.

The agreement is an important step in hastening the adoption of FCEVs and the development of associated infrastructure in the nation. The South African government’s green hydrogen economy strategy, which will reduce carbon emissions, unlock investment, generate jobs, and increase demand for essential metals and raw materials, including PGMs, is built on the growth of the market for hydrogen-fueled mobility solutions.

“Sasol, BMW and Anglo American Platinum recognize the urgency of addressing climate change, and this agreement demonstrates our commitment to revolutionizing the energy sector by exploring and promoting cutting-edge solutions,” said Priscillah Mabelane, Executive Vice President for the Energy Business at Sasol. We understand hydrogen as a company that has been manufacturing and selling it for more than 20 years. We created our first batch of green hydrogen at our Sasolburg facility in June, and when a 69MW wind farm in the Eastern Cape goes online in 2024, we’ll ramp this up to commercial size. Sasol is pleased to participate in this display, which has been carefully planned to highlight local talent and the art of the feasible.

The CEO of BMW Group South Africa, Peter van Binsbergen, stated that a single technology would not be sufficient to deliver global climate-neutral mobility. Hydrogen, a flexible energy source, is essential for the transition to a carbon-neutral economy. With its plentiful supply of raw materials and strong infrastructure, we think South Africa is in a prime position to fulfill the promises of the Green Hydrogen Economy. We will soon be able to display the technical maturity of BMW’s fuel cell electric vehicle drive system, highlighting its promise for the future, with the help of collaborators Sasol and Anglo American Platinum.

“Hydrogen fuel cells are a critical technology for zero emission electric vehicles, and we believe FCEVs will play an important role in the mix of drivetrain technologies needed to decarbonize all forms of transportation,” said Craig Miller, CEO of Anglo American Platinum. Similar to driving a diesel or gasoline car, FCEVs have large ranges and quick refueling periods, but with the added bonus of zero emissions. Our relationship with Sasol and BMW expands on a number of international alliances we have to promote green mobility options and find new applications for the minerals we extract.

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