As planned, the German carmaker will launch a fuel cell version of its SUV in small series. It will be offered in a few markets from next spring.
BMW will thus join Hyundai and Toyota in the club of manufacturers offering hydrogen-powered cars. As a partner of the Japanese manufacturer, whose fuel cell it has adopted, it has adapted the technology to preserve the performance of the iX5. BMW points out that this version requires specific elements, including 12 and 400 volt electrical systems, as well as a high-performance battery. The Munich-based company is also using 3D printing to create other parts.
For instance, a new floor has been developed to integrate the two hydrogen tanks, both in the central tunnel and under the rear seat.
After winter testing, the iX5 Hydrogen is being produced in a small series in a pilot plant at FIZ, the group’s research centre in Munich. The fleet will be used to demonstrate the relevance of the technology until the infrastructure is developed and the market conditions are right.
BMW believes that hydrogen is complementary to the battery. The head of development, Frank Weber, is convinced that this solution will become increasingly important for individual mobility and that in the future there will be a mix of hydrogen and electric vehicles. In addition, he points out that fuel cells require neither cobalt, lithium nor nickel.
Article written by Laurent Meillaud and translated by Logan King