Modified fuel cell iX5 Electric SUV showcases BMW’s hydrogen efforts. The fuel cell will be launched from early 2023. The BMW iX5 Hrogen production started at the carmaker’s Munich plant. It is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell and e-motor with a combined output of 374PS.
The features and aesthetics of the vehicle remain similar from the ICE-powered X5 SUV. The vehicle will not be available for private buyers, however it will be used for development of future hydrogen EVs. BMW has been working on a special hydrogen-powered X5 SUV for a while now, testing it in different climates and perfecting a new technique for small-batch production. The carmaker has begun producing a small lot of iX5 fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) that will be used to demonstrate the carmaker’s technologies from early 2023 onwards.
While the iX5 itself will not be available to buy, it will spawn future Hydrogen-powered EVs from BMW. Member of Board of Management, BMW AG, Frank Weber said, “Hydrogen is a versatile energy source that has a key role to play as we progress towards climate neutrality. We are certain that hydrogen is set to gain significantly in importance for individual mobility and therefore consider a mixture of battery and fuel cell electric drive systems to be a sensible approach in the long term.”
Hydrogen cars have been around for over a decade, but they are still a tiny niche in the global automotive market, almost exclusively selling in select European and North American countries. There are several challenges to hydrogen cars, including the storage of the gas itself, procuring and supplying hydrogen at fuel stations and building cars at scale. BMW has developed new production techniques at its Munich plant, including a new small-scale manufacturing unit for the iX5 FCEVs. In addition, it has developed a fully sealed fuel cell stack that can be placed under the car’s bonnet at the front. It has an output of 170PS. The iX5 has two carbon-fibre reinforced hydrogen fuel tanks, one in the centre tunnel between the front seats and another below the rear seats. The EV battery is placed further rearward under the boot floor.
The BMW iX5 is powered by the carmaker’s e-Drive system with a combined output of 374PS. From the driver’s seat, a hydrogen-powered EV is quite similar to a battery electric car. But hydrogen car does have its advantages, it’s as quick to refuel as an ICE vehicle and tends to offer a longer range than most battery EVs.