BMW has been making waves in the automotive industry with their latest announcement of the iX5 Hydrogen pilot fleet, which will begin operations this year. After four years of development, BMW is now allowing international media representatives to test drive this new vehicle, which is set to revolutionize how we view zero-emission mobility.
Hydrogen fuel cell technology is an efficient way to store and transport renewable energy, making it a key component in the energy transition and climate protection. Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, stated, "Hydrogen is the missing piece of the puzzle for zero-emission mobility because a single technology will not be enough to enable climate-neutral mobility worldwide."
The iX5 Hydrogen, based on the current BMW X5, was first presented as a concept idea at the IAA 2019. The vehicle has been developed at BMW's competence center for hydrogen in Munich, where the "highly efficient" fuel cell systems of the pilot fleet are being produced. The fuel cell has an output of 125 kW/170 hp and is one of the core components in the iX5 Hydrogen.
The gaseous hydrogen required to supply the fuel cell is stored in two 700 bar tanks made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP). The BMW iX5 Hydrogen achieves a range of 504 kilometers in the WLTP cycle and takes only three to four minutes to fill up the hydrogen tanks. The chemical reaction between the gaseous hydrogen and the oxygen from the ambient air takes place in the fuel cell, which then powers the vehicle.
In addition to technological analogies to the combustion engine, BMW has developed unique hydrogen components for the new fuel cell system. These include a high-speed compressor with a turbine and a high-voltage coolant pump. The German car manufacturer receives the individual fuel cells from Toyota in Japan.
The BMW iX5 Hydrogen also boasts a highly integrated drive unit of the fifth generation of BMW eDrive technology on the rear axle and a performance battery with Li-ion technology specially developed for this vehicle. The vehicle's drive train brings a maximum output of 295kW / 401hp on the road. During the overrun and braking phases, the e-machine also takes on the function of a generator that feeds energy back into a power battery.
The BMW iX5 Hydrogen is manufactured in the pilot plant in Munich's FIZ (Research and Innovation Center). Less than 100 vehicles will be used internationally for demonstration and testing purposes for various target groups.
As BMW continues to drive the development of hydrogen fuel cell technology as an additional option for locally emission-free individual mobility in the future, the BMW iX5 Hydrogen is a step towards a cleaner and more sustainable future. With the potential of hydrogen as a versatile energy source, the iX5 Hydrogen is an innovative and exciting development in the world of automotive technology.