LONDON: After four years of development work, a pilot fleet of under 100 units of the BMW iX5 Hydrogen is being deployed internationally for demonstration and trial purposes.
“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 Oliver Zipse, chairman of the board of management of BMW AG.
“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.”
The BMW iX5 Hydrogen developed on the basis of the current BMW X5 was first unveiled as a concept at the IAA show in 2019.
The BMW Group produces the fuel cell systems for the pilot fleet at its in-house competence centre for hydrogen in Munich.
The individual fuel cells are sourced from Toyota Motor Corp.
The two companies have been collaborating on fuel cell drive systems since 2013.
Fuel cell systems are manufactured in two main steps, based on the individual fuel cells. The cells are first assembled into a fuel cell stack. The next step involves fitting all the other components to produce a complete fuel cell system.
Stacking of the fuel cells is largely a fully automated process. The stack is compressed by machine with a force of five tonnes and placed in a housing. The stack housing is manufactured in the light metal foundry at BMW Group Plant Landshut.
The powertrain channels maximum output of 295kW/401hp onto the road. In coasting overrun and braking phases, the motor also serves as a generator, feeding energy back into a power battery.
The BMW iX5 Hydrogen is being built in the BMW Group’s pilot plant at its Research and Innovation Centre (FIZ) in Munich.
Around 900 people work there in the body shop, assembly, model engineering, concept vehicle construction and additive manufacturing.
Hydrogen allows rapid re-fuelling.
The hydrogen needed to supply the fuel cell is stored in two 700-bar tanks made of carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP).
Together these hold almost six kgs of hydrogen, giving the BMW iX5 Hydrogen a range of 504km in the WLTP cycle.
Filling up the hydrogen tanks only takes three to four minutes.