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A BMW on hydrogen: this is how the iX5 | . drives Car

videoEuropean car manufacturers are not eager to face the extremely high development costs of hydrogen cars. But BMW persists. In addition to the launch of various fully electric models, BMW continues to focus on fuel cell technology. Our car editors drove a prototype of the BMW iX5: an X5 that runs on hydrogen.


Werner Budding





BMW unveiled the iX5 Hydrogen, a prototype of a hydrogen-powered X5, at the IAA Mobility fair in Munich this month. They are pretty clear about it at BMW: this car was built for development purposes and in that capacity our test drive around Munich could also be made.

It was a ride along: an engineer drove behind the wheel, the journalist had to sit in the back seat. That caution is somewhat understandable: the iX5 Hydrogen is unlikely to go into production in this form. BMW does indicate that there will be a small series of the iX5, in the form of a few dozen copies. These cars will hit the public road, for promotion and to collect data and information that the engineers can use in developing the hydrogen BMW that will actually go into production in a few years.

BMW iX5 © BMW

That could very well happen in the form of the next-generation X5. BMW does see a future for hydrogen. The brand expects the FCEVs (Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles) to be part of BMW’s zero-emission range as early as 2025.

The fuel cell technology is getting smaller

BMW is already working on platforms that are suitable for both fully electric propulsion and fuel cell technology. The manufacturer is developing flat hydrogen tanks that must fit into the floor – i.e. in the place of the battery pack. Jürgen Guldner, responsible for the development of the BMW FCEVs: ,,This gives us the flexibility we need for the future. That will happen in the second half of this decade. That is the key to further developing the technology, and this will enable us to do that.”

BMW expects the fuel cell technology to be smaller and more efficient by then. Guldner also says that the rapid developments of hydrogen can be interesting for heavier transport. The introduction of hydrogen seems almost inevitable for freight transport, because battery packs involve a lot of volume (ie less space for freight) and weight.

The hydrogen car has 374 hp on board

The iX5 Hydrogen, like the electric iX3, is an electrified version of a combustion engine vehicle. BMW likes to use so-called ‘cluster architectures’. This also applies to the architecture of the X5, which is therefore clearly also suitable for an electric powertrain, whose energy comes from a battery pack or – as in this case – from a fuel cell and a hydrogen tank.

The hydrogen car is equipped with the same eDrive technology as the electric BMW iX and has one electric motor. It is also equipped with what it claims to be a particularly powerful fuel cell. It can develop a maximum of 125 kW. Supplemented with the 150 kW from the battery pack, the BMW iX5 Hydrogen can develop a power of no less than 275 kW/374 hp. This makes it the most powerful hydrogen FCEV at the moment. Disadvantage: the BMW iX5 Hydrogen is anything but light. It weighs about 2500 kg, almost equal to the weight of the X5 xDrive45e PHEV.

Two hydrogen tanks

The fuel cell of the BMW iX5 Hydrogen was developed together with Toyota and tailor-made for the X5. The cell, which obtains the electrical energy from the hydrogen, is fed by two hydrogen tanks. One tank is located under the rear seat and the second tank is incorporated in the transmission tunnel, where the cardan shaft and automatic gearbox are located in a standard BMW X5.

Together, these tanks contain 6 kg of hydrogen, which is stored under a pressure of 700 bar. The range is approximately 500 kilometers. Refueling a hydrogen car goes about as smoothly as with a petrol or diesel car. But the number of hydrogen filling stations in the Netherlands can currently be counted on the fingers of one hand.

What exactly is hydrogen? The Autoweek dictionary explains.

BMW iX5
BMW iX5 © BMW


BMW iX5
BMW iX5 © BMW

BMW iX5
BMW iX5 © BMW

A BMW on hydrogen: this is how the iX5 | . drives Car
Source link A BMW on hydrogen: this is how the iX5 | . drives Car

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