BMW has commenced the small-series production of the iX5 Hydrogen model at the pilot plant of its Munich Research and Innovation Centre (FIZ). It will be the brand’s first ever vehicle to feature hydrogen fuel cell technology. BMW iX5 testing has already been concluded under demanding conditions and now its technology demonstrator programme will start from next year in selected regions.
“Hydrogen is a versatile energy source that has a key role to play as we progress towards climate neutrality. 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," said Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Development.
For the development of 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.
“Production of the BMW iX5 Hydrogen and the BMW-developed fuel cell systems demonstrates our supreme flexibility and unrivalled know-how in the field of small-scale manufacture,” remarks Milan Nedeljković, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Production.
The base vehicles for the hydrogen model are supplied by the brand’s Spartanburg facility in the USA while they are based on the platform of the BMW X5. These base vehicles get a new floor assembly to accommodate two hydrogen tanks in the centre tunnel and under the rear seat unit. The model-specific 12V and 400V electrical systems, high-performance battery, electric motor and fuel cell are all integrated during the assembly stage.
BMW’s eDrive technology also employed in battery electric and plug-in hybrid models. The fuel cell systems located under the bonnet of the BMW iX5 Hydrogen have been manufactured at BMW’s in-house competence centre for hydrogen in Garching to the north of Munich. The BMW iX5 Hydrogen passes through all the customary stages of production, starting at the body shop then proceeding to the paint shop and assembly before ending with a final inspection of each individual vehicle. Following this, every vehicle undergoes a comprehensive operational check at the BMW Group’s test centre in Aschheim.
BMW iX5 hydrogen model is best suited for those buyers who cannot afford short refuelling stops and seek long ranges. In addition, it is fairly useful in regions lacking an adequate charging infrastructure. It combines all the benefits of a locally emission-free drive system and could replace the battery electric drive system in near future.
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