BMW iX5 Hydrogen-powered SUV Enters Series Production, Now Let's See if Anybody Wants One

BMW iX5 Hydrogen model 13 photos
Photo: BMW
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The BMW Group has started production for the small-series iX5 Hydrogen model in the pilot plant at its Munich Research and Innovation Centre. The vehicle is meant to be the first-ever Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) that features hydrogen fuel cell technology. Apparently, the BMW iX5 has already completed a battery of difficult programs and tests meant to see if it can handle certain demanding conditions.
Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Development, said “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." Because fuel cells don't require raw materials like cobalt, lithium, or nickel, the technology could prove very useful for the environment during resource gathering. Furthermore, this approach is meant to provide the customer with an alternative product range.

The platform used for this hydrogen-propelled SAV is the one from the BMW X5. The BMW Group Plant Spartanburg in the USA is responsible for supplying the base vehicles. When everything is in place and ready to go, the 900 employees from the Munich plant start working in their respective areas of expertise like the body shop, assembly, model engineering, concept vehicle construction, and additive manufacturing. They each can work on up to six cars at a time.

The X5s are fitted with new floor assemblies to make room for the two hydrogen tanks that go along the center tunnel and under the rear seat area. The fuel cells are located under the hood and are manufactured in-house at the competence center for hydrogen in Garching, north of Munich. Moreover, the fuel cells are integrated at the same time with the model-specific 12V and 400V electrical systems, battery, and electric motor.

After this entire process and a paint job, the new BMW iX5 Hydrogen is put through the wringer at their test center in Aschheim. Afterward, everything will depend on consumer feedback, and like always, money talks. So the future demand or lack thereof will speak volumes for the hydrogen-powered vehicle market.
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About the author: Codrin Spiridon
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Codrin just loves American classics, from the 1940s and ‘50s, all the way to the muscle cars of the '60s and '70s. In his perfect world, we'll still see Hudsons and Road Runners roaming the streets for years to come (even in EV form, if that's what it takes to keep the aesthetic alive).
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