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Hydrogen vehicles to be trialled in South Africa

A pilot fleet of 100 BMW iX5 Hydrogen vehicles was launched earlier this year for demonstration and trial purposes. (Image source: BMW Group)

BMW Group South Africa, Sasol South Africa and Anglo American Platinum, have signed a collaboration agreement to bring hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and supporting refuelling technology to South Africa as part of an international trial

As per the agreement, BMW will supply the hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles, Sasol will supply the green hydrogen and mobile refueler, and Anglo American will help develop a local green hydrogen mobility system while supporting both companies. 

Seen as a significant step towards accelerating the uptake of FCEVs in the country, the agreement was signed at the 2023 South African Green Hydrogen Summit in Cape Town and will serve to understand how the BMW iX5 Hydrogen performs in real-world conditions. 

Priscillah Mabelane, Sasol executive vice president for the energy business, remarked, “Sasol, BMW and Anglo American Platinum recognise the urgency of addressing climate change, and this agreement demonstrates our commitment to revolutionising the energy sector by exploring and promoting cutting-edge solutions. As an organisation that has been producing and marketing hydrogen for more than 20 years, we know hydrogen. We produced our first batch of green hydrogen at our Sasolburg facility in June and in 2024 we will ramp this up to commercial scale when a 69MW wind farm, situated in the Eastern Cape, comes online. As Sasol we are excited to be part of this demonstration, which has been strategic in showcasing local capability and the art of the possible.”

Craig Miller, CEO of Anglo American Platinum, commented, “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 decarbonise all forms of transport. FCEVs benefit from short refuelling times and long ranges, similar to using a diesel or petrol vehicle, but with the added benefit of zero emissions. Our collaboration with Sasol and BMW builds on various partnerships we have around the world to drive green mobility solutions and develop new uses for the products we mine.”

Peter van Binsbergen, CEO of BMW Group South Africa, added, “One technology on its own will not be enough to enable climate-neutral mobility worldwide. As a versatile energy source, hydrogen has a key role to play on the road to climate neutrality. We believe South Africa – with its abundance of raw materials and sound infrastructure base – is ideally placed to deliver on the Green Hydrogen Economy’s promises. Soon, with collaborators Sasol and Anglo American Platinum, we will be able to demonstrate the technical maturity of BMW’s fuel cell electric vehicle drive system, underscoring its potential for the future.”

Hopes are high for Africa's wider hydrogen economy. Read African Review's latest report at:

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