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BMW iX5 Hydrogen on the road in spring 2023

December 2, 2022

Production of the BMW iX5 Hydrogen takes place at the pilot plant of the Munich Research and Innovation Center (FIZ). This very first Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) with hydrogen fuel cell technology has already gone through an intensive test program in demanding conditions during the development phase, such as in winter cold at Arjeplog in northern Sweden.

Hydrogen important for individual mobility

“Hydrogen is a versatile energy source that plays a key role in the pursuit of climate neutrality,” said Frank Weber, member of the executive board of BMW AG and responsible for development. “We are certain that hydrogen will gain significant importance for individual mobility and therefore we consider a combination of battery and fuel cell electric drive systems to be a sensible approach in the long term.”

BMW iX5 Hydrogen also with battery

The BMW iX5 Hydrogen has a unique propulsion system. In fact, the electric motor does not get its power only from the fuel cell that converts hydrogen into electricity and water vapor. There is also a hefty battery on board for extra power during acceleration. When braking, it is charged by the electric motor acting as a dynamo.

BMW and driving dynamics

The electric motor delivers 125 kW (170 hp) but with the additional power from the battery, up to 275 kW (374 hp) is temporarily possible. So that the BMW iX5 Hydrogen can offer spirited acceleration as well as the driving dynamics that buyers expect from a BMW. Battery power support is a convenient solution. A smaller fuel cell is needed, keeping vehicle weight and hydrogen consumption within limits.

Test fleet as prelude to production version

Field tests in the spring of 2023 should show whether the concept lives up to expectations and whether further adjustments are needed to optimize the powertrain. “With our BMW iX5 Hydrogen test fleet, we can gain new and valuable insights that will allow us to offer customers an attractive product offering once the hydrogen economy becomes a widespread reality,” Weber said.

Pilot plant of BMW

The BMW iX5 Hydrogen is being built at the BMW Group’s pilot plant at the Research and Innovation Center in Munich. This is the interface between development and production where each new model of one of the company’s brands is made for the first time. Some 900 people work in body construction, assembly, model building, concept vehicle construction and additive manufacturing. They each work on up to six vehicle projects at a time and must ensure that both the product and the production process are ready for series production.

Hydrogen technology

In the case of the BMW iX5 Hydrogen, specialists in hydrogen technology, vehicle development and initial assembly of new models worked closely together. The BMW Group’s Spartanburg plant in the United States will supply the base vehicles for the hydrogen model, developed on the platform of the BMW X5.

6 kg of hydrogen in tanks in the floor structure

The iX5 Hydrogen has a new floor design with two hydrogen tanks holding up to 6 kg of hydrogen (700 bar) in the center tunnel and under the rear seat. The model-specific 12V and 400V electrical systems, high-performance battery, electric motor and fuel cell are all integrated during the assembly phase. The electric motor is placed near the rear axle along with the battery. The fuel cell is located up front under the hood.