BMW iX5 Hydrogen: The hydrogen X5 comes in small series

BMW announced a hydrogen version of the X5 as early as 2019, and the iX5 Hydrogen SUV will be available in a small series at the end of 2022. In order to advance fuel cell production and development, the Munich-based company has put its own hydrogen competence center into operation.


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The second generation of the fuel cell will be used in the iX5 Hydrogen, in which the continuous output has been more than doubled. The fuel cell alone should be able to generate an electrical output of 125 kW (170 hp). The hydrogen required to generate electricity is to be stored in gaseous form in two 700-bar CFRP high-pressure tanks. According to BMW, the tanks together hold up to six kilograms of hydrogen. So that there is always enough energy available for short intermediate sprints, the BMW buffers power in a battery located below the trunk. Combined with an electric motor, the iX5 Hydrogen should have a system output of 275 kW (374 hp).

BMW i Hydrogen Next
One of the two hydrogen tanks uses the X5’s transmission tunnel.

The small series of the iX5 Hydrogen will come in 2022

Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, believes in hydrogen: “It will also become significantly more relevant in individual mobility. For us, hydrogen-powered vehicles are the ideal technology to sensibly supplement battery-electric vehicles and complete electromobility.”

However, it is not enough for a large series. At least not yet. First of all, the iX5 Hydrogen will be tested worldwide from the end of 2022 in a small series of around 100 vehicles that will not be officially sold. But it seems as if BMW has opted for hydrogen and the fuel cell as an additional drive concept for the future. Zipse also confirms this: “With today’s start of production of the small series of fuel cells, we are showing the maturity of this type of drive and are thus underlining its potential for the future.” And in the future, an iX5 could possibly also be offered in large series, but probably not before 2025.

The drive system of the fuel cell also consists of two water tanks and an electric motor.

BMW X5 with optical adjustments

The iX5 Hydrogen is immediately recognizable as a BMW X5. The modifications to the optics are limited. However, the BMW gets a lot of blue accents that are intended to distinguish it as a BMW i model. The bonnet has a special pattern in blue, the air intakes in the apron also have blue elements and are very large. The accentuated aluminum rims catch the eye from the side. And at the rear, the Hydrogen Next gets a diffuser and small winglets.

Hydrogen has long been an issue at BMW

The fuel cell technology for the planned small series comes from a cooperation between BMW and Toyota. The two carmakers have been working together since 2013, and since the summer of 2015 BMW has been testing the practical suitability of the jointly developed powertrain with a hydrogen 5 Series GT fleet. BMW has been working on hydrogen vehicles for years, but so far without noticing any significant success. Although 100 pieces of the BMW Hydrogen 7 based on the E66 7 series were produced in 2002, they never went on sale. This may change with the production version of the iX5 from 2025.

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