After four years of development, the very first BMW iX5 Hydrogen models will be driven on the roads for a “practical operation” development phase.
During 2023, the pilot fleet of vehicles will be given to an array of target groups to conduct trials and demonstrations, providing the OEM’s development team with valuable knowledge on how the hydrogen fuel cell system deals with everyday scenarios.
Produced at BMW’s pilot plant in the Munich Research and Innovation Center, 900 employees are working to ensure the BMW iX5 Hydrogen is ready for starting series production. Hydrogen fuel cell technology consists of a chemical reaction taking place in the fuel cell between the gaseous hydrogen from the tanks and the oxygen from the ambient air. For a high drive efficiency, a uniform supply of the two media to the membrane in the fuel cell is vital.
Working in combination with a highly integrated drive unit in the fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology on the rear axle, in addition to a high-performance battery developed specifically for the BMW iX5 Hydrogen, the powertrain produces a maximum output of 295kW or 407ps. During drive and brake scenarios, the drive unit works as a generator to feed power back into the lithium-ion-based battery.
Additionally, the gaseous hydrogen required to supply the fuel cell is stored in two 700bar tanks manufactured from carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic. Combined, these hold 6kg of hydrogen, enabling the BMW iX5 Hydrogen to benefit from a range of 504km in the WLTP cycle. When required, the hydrogen tanks can be refueled in three to four minutes.
Having collaborated on fuel cell drives since 2013, BMW receives individual fuel cells from the Toyota Motor Corporation.
“Hydrogen is a versatile energy source that has a key role to play in the energy transition process and therefore in climate protection,” explained Oliver Zipse, chairman of the board of management at BMW. “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.”