BMW Group is launching a fleet of iX5 Hydrogen SUVs following four years of development work, as the industry continues look beyond batteries as an alternative power source.
The fleet of under 100 vehicles will employed internationally for demonstration and trial purposes for various target groups in order that they gain a direct impression of what the Hydrogen has to offer.
Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, said: “Hydrogen is a versatile energy source that has a key role to play in the energy transition process and therefore in climate protection. After all, it is one of the most efficient ways of storing and transporting renewable energies.
“We should use this potential to also accelerate the transformation of the mobility sector. Hydrogen is the missing piece in the jigsaw when it comes to emission-free mobility. One technology on its own will not be enough to enable climate-neutral mobility worldwide.”
The BMW iX5 Hydrogen
The BMW iX5 Hydrogen, based on the current BMW X5, was first unveiled as a concept at the IAA show in 2019. Initial prototypes were then made available at the IAA Mobility 2021 for visitors to experience.
The BMW Group is systematically pushing forward with development of hydrogen fuel cell technology as an additional option for locally emission-free individual mobility in the future.
BMW’s technological expertise
The BMW Group produced the fuel cell systems for the pilot fleet at its in-house competence centre for hydrogen in Munich. This technology is one of the core elements in the BMW iX5 Hydrogen and generates a high continuous output of 125 kW/170 hp.
BMW sources the individual fuel cells from the Toyota Motor Corporation. The two companies have had a partnership for many years and have been collaborating on fuel cell drive systems since 2013.
In combination with a highly integrated drive unit using fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology (the electric motor, transmission and power electronics are grouped together in a compact housing) at the rear axle and a power battery with lithium-ion technology developed specially for this vehicle, the powertrain channels maximum output of 295kW / 401 hp onto the road. In coasting overrun and braking phases, the motor also serves as a generator, feeding energy back into a power battery.
Production at Munich pilot plant
The BMW iX5 Hydrogen is being built in the BMW Group’s pilot plant at its Research and Innovation Centre (FIZ) in Munich. This is the interface between development and production where every new model from the company’s brands is made for the first time. Around 900 people work there in the body shop, assembly, model engineering, concept vehicle construction and additive manufacturing.
Hydrogen allows rapid re-fuelling
The hydrogen needed to supply the fuel cell is stored in two 700-bar tanks made of carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP). Together these hold almost six kilograms of hydrogen, enough to give the BMW iX5 Hydrogen a range of 504 km (313 miles) in the WLTP cycle. Filling up the hydrogen tanks only takes three to four minutes – so the BMW iX5 Hydrogen can also provide the driving pleasure for which BMW is renowned over long distances, with just a few, short stops along the way.
Hydrogen as part of global activities for CO2-free mobility
According to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), hydrogen offers considerable potential as a future energy source in connection with global energy transition activities. Thanks to its storage and transport capabilities, hydrogen can be used for a wide variety of applications.
Most industrialised countries are therefore adopting hydrogen strategies and backing them up with roadmaps and concrete projects. In the transport sector, hydrogen can become a further technology option, alongside battery-electric mobility, for shaping sustainable individual mobility in the long term.
However, this will depend on competitive production of sufficient quantities of hydrogen from green power, as well as expansion of the corresponding filling infrastructure, which is already being intensively pursued in many countries.