BMW has started production of the iX5 Hydrogen with a hydrogen fuel cell. Although the vehicle is assembled in Munich, Germany, the X5s used as the basis come from Spartanburg, United States. The BMW FIZ (BMW Group Research and Innovation Center) integrates two hydrogen tanks (under the central tunnel and the rear seats), the 12 and 400-volt systems, and the rest of the specific components.
The BMW iX5 Hydrogen is equipped with a 374 hp (275 kW) electric motor associated with a 125 kW fuel cell. The 700-bar tanks are made of plastic reinforced with carbon fiber, with a maximum capacity of almost 6 kg. The company estimates that its range will be around 600 km, thus approaching the 630 km WLTP of the iX xDrive50, which is equipped with 105.2 kWh batteries.
From an aesthetic point of view, the new iX5 Hydrogen is distinguished from a conventional thermal X5 by a series of small details (blue inserts in the radiator grill, skirts, and wheels, its badges, diffuser, decorations with blue motifs in the passenger compartment, etc.); however, to the eyes of a neophyte, they will be practically indistinguishable.
Although the electric motor belongs to the family of powertrains used in the company’s current electric and plug-in hybrid cars, most elements of the powertrain are specific. The fuel cell, located in the front compartment (as in the Toyota Mirai), began manufacturing in Garching (Germany) last August.
The BMW iX5 Hydrogen will be produced in low numbers
“As a versatile energy carrier, hydrogen plays a key role on the path to climate neutrality. We are convinced that it will also become significantly more relevant in individual mobility and therefore consider a combination of battery-electric and fuel-cell electrics to be sensible in the long term,” says BMW Head of Development Frank Weber.
“Furthermore, the fuel cell does not require any critical raw materials such as cobalt, lithium, or nickel, so with our investment in this solution, we are also strengthening the geopolitical resilience of the BMW Group. With our test fleet of BMW iX5 Hydrogen, we will collect new and important information. This will allow us to offer our customers an attractive product range when the hydrogen economy becomes a reality across the board.”
Milan Nedeljković, a member of the BMW Board of Management, adds: “With the production of the BMW iX5 Hydrogen and the fuel cell system developed in-house at BMW, we are also demonstrating maximum flexibility and unique know-how in the production of small series.