BMW Switches Out to Hydrogen Power

  • The BMW Group is commencing production of its BMW iX5 Hydrogen model.
  • The manufacture of the small-series hydrogen-powered vehicle is taking place in the pilot plant at its Munich Research and Innovation Centre (FIZ).
  • The first ever Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) featuring hydrogen fuel cell technology has already completed an intensive programme of testing under demanding conditions during the development phase and will now be used as a technology demonstrator for locally carbon-free mobility in selected regions from spring 2023.

“Hydrogen is a versatile energy source that has a key role to play as we progress towards climate neutrality,” says Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Development. “We are certain that hydrogen is set to gain significantly in importance for individual mobility and therefore consider a mixture of battery and fuel cell electric drive systems to be a sensible approach in the long term.

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Fuel cells don’t require any critical raw materials such as cobalt, lithium or nickel either, so by investing in this type of drive system we are also strengthening the geopolitical resilience of the BMW Group. Our BMW iX5 Hydrogen test fleet will allow us to gain new and valuable insights, enabling us to present customers with an attractive product range once the hydrogen economy becomes a widespread reality.”

BMW iX5 Hydrogen model nears the end of the production line. Image credit: BMW

The BMW iX5 Hydrogen is being built in the BMW Group’s pilot plant at its Research and Innovation Centre in Munich. This is the interface between development and production where every new model from one of the company’s brands is made for the first time. Around 900 people work there in the body shop, assembly, model engineering, concept vehicle construction and additive manufacturing.

They each work on up to six vehicle projects simultaneously and are tasked with ensuring that both the product and the manufacturing process are ready for series production. In the case of the BMW iX5 Hydrogen, specialists in hydrogen technology, vehicle development and initial assembly of new models have been working closely together to integrate the cutting-edge drive and energy storage technology.

The BMW iX5 Hydrogen combines all the benefits of a locally emission-free drive system with outstanding everyday usability and long-distance capabilities. This makes its hydrogen fuel cell technology an attractive complementary alternative to the battery electric drive system. This is especially true for customers for whom short refuelling stops and long ranges are a must, as well as for regions still lacking an adequate charging infrastructure.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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