© BMW Group
© BMW Group

Sheer Driving Pleasure: BMW launches pilot fleet of iX5 Hydrogen vehicles

After four years of development, BMW has launched a pilot fleet of its iX5 Hydrogen vehicles.

The fleet of under 100 cars are set to be used internationally for demonstration and trial purposes, coming as a first chance for users to gain experience of what the hydrogen-powered Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) has to offer.

Based on BMW’s current X5, the iX5 Hydrogen features fuel cell systems, utilising Toyota cells, which the company says offers a “high continuous output” of 125kW or 170bhp.

In combination with an integrated drive unit using BMW eDrive technology at the rear axle and a lithium-ion power battery, the iX5 Hydrogen powertrain channels a maximum output of 295kW/401bhp on the road. BMW has said the motor also serves as a generator, feeding energy back into the battery in coasting overrun and braking phases.

Holding almost 6kg of hydrogen in two 700-bar tanks, the vehicle is said to offer a range of 504km (313 miles) in the Worldwide Harmonised Light-Duty Test Procedure (WLTP), and can be refilled in just three to four minutes.

The launch of the vehicles marks another step forwards in the German automotive giant’s development of hydrogen fuel cell technology as an option for “locally emission-free” individual mobility.

“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,” said OIiver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG.

Zipse continued, “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.”

Produced at BMW Group’s pilot plant at its Research and Innovation Centre (FIZ) in Munich, Germany, specialists in hydrogen technology, vehicle development, and initial assembly of new models have been working to integrate the drive and storage systems.

Read more: BMW Group starts production of iX5 Hydrogen model

In March last year (2022), BMW announced it was testing the hydrogen-powered zero-emission vehicle in Sweden to ensure extreme performance could be achieved in sub-zero temperatures.

Read more: Frosty trials prove a fantastic success for BMW iX5 Hydrogen

Having sold more than 215,000 fully electric vehicles worldwide in 2022, an increase of almost 108% on the previous year, BMW was the first German carmaker to join the Business Ambition for 1.5oC campaign, led by Science Based Targets to achieve full climate neutrality throughout the value chain.

Despite recognising the potential for hydrogen in mobility, industry, and energy, BMW has said its use will depend on the competitive production of sufficient quantities of green hydrogen, as well as an expansion of the corresponding refuelling infrastructure.

“With the right conditions, hydrogen fuel cell technology has the potential to become a further pillar in the BMW Group’s drive train portfolio for local carbon dioxide-free mobility,” the company said.


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