The German automaker said it has "accelerated progress toward its goal of finalizing approved components for a fuel-cell electric vehicle by 2020" and that the technology will "add further variety to a portfolio of drive systems which can be adapted flexibly to different vehicle concepts, customer requirements and legal stipulations around the world."
The move "represents the ideal next layer of BMW eDrive technology," it added.
Some automakers are slowly introducing fuel-cell vehicles to their lineups.
The 2016 Toyota Mirai fuel-cell sedan will arrive at Toyota's California dealerships this fall with a price tag of $58,325. The 2016 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell SUV is available for lease at select Hyundai dealerships in California. They are Win Hyundai, Tustin Hyundai and Hardin Hyundai.
Availability of the Tucson Fuel Cell will expand to other regions of the U.S. as more hydrogen refueling stations are built, Hyundai said.
The vehicles emit only water vapor. But the hydrogen infrastructure in the U.S. is in its infancy, with just 12 public stations here, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Edmunds says: A BMW vehicle powered by electricity from hydrogen fuel cells may be in your driveway in the not-too-distant future.