The prototypes of the BMW I Hydrogen NEXT X5 are already rolling. The Munich firm has thrown itself into the pool of hydrogen and the fuel cell, starting a test period that will continue for a year and a half. A demonstration of the validity of this technology for a future generation of electric cars, mainly SUVs.
The BMW X5 has become the first model of the German brand to house a fuel cell in its guts. The firm has been testing hydrogen drive solutions for years, a technology that requires time and a large investment, and that we saw, for the first time, on board a BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo five years ago. Now, BMW already has all the technology matured, so it has already started the tests in real traffic.
The luxury SUV is the first model that the firm has equipped with a fuel cell, two years ahead of the initial plans that we told you a little over a year ago, initially destined for the X7, transforming the model into a series of rolling prototypes. BMW I Hydrogen Next, the technological advance presented in 2019. This is the true, and first, fruit in the field of hydrogen that has generated the collaboration signed between the Bavarians and the Japanese of Toyota in 2013.
The hydrogen BMW X5 is a reality in prototype form
During the next year and a half, until the end of 2022 when a fleet is expected to be built, the prototypes of this electric BMW X5 will roll on the main European roads, especially in the regions of the continent that the brand uses as test sites, which This will allow you to check first hand the operation of the system, the specific chassis technology, and the electronic systems. A model that will be recognizable by this special camouflage of electric cars, by the indications on the sides and rear, and, of course, by the absence of exhausts.
The prototypes are equipped with a fuel cell, capable of generating an electrical power of 170 HP, together with an electrical converter installed under the battery that adjusts the voltage, supplying power to the electrical assembly. In total, the powertrain generates a total power of 374 hp. The system also has two tanks to store six kilograms of hydrogen at 700 bar, made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP), which can be recharged in less than 4 minutes.
The most interesting thing is that BMW will not limit itself to the use of the fuel cell with hydrogen fuel, but will give it other applications. For example, the firm considers a complement for combustion engines, plug-in hybrids, and battery electric vehicles. In this sense, Toyota is already investigating a new application of hydrogen, as a fuel for a traditional combustion engine.