We are familiar with the electric vehicle that carries a large battery pack. These are called Battery Electric Vehicle or BEV in the industry. Another approach that many automakers are putting research and development funds into are the electric vehicles powered by fuel cell technology or FCEV.
Hyundai, Toyota and Honda have models offering FCEV technology at a trial phase in their home countries as well as the US and western Europe. So far, the technology has not progressed as fast as expected due to the need to have a hydrogen refill station as well as the high cost of the technology.
Nonetheless, BMW believes that hydrogen and fuel cell technology can supplement BEV for sustainable private and local CO2-free mobility. Two years after unveiling the BMW i Hydrogen Next concept car, the company will present the BMW iX5 Hydrogen at the IAA Mobility Motorshow in Munich, Germany.
According to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), hydrogen offers considerable potential as a future energy source in connection with global energy transition activities. Thanks to its storage and transport capabilities, hydrogen can be used for a wide variety of applications.
Most industrialised countries are therefore adopting hydrogen strategies and backing them up with roadmaps and concrete projects. In the transport sector, hydrogen can become a further technology option, alongside BEV, for shaping sustainable private mobility in the long term.
As part of the revamp IAA Motorshow, the core theme is mobility and experience, rather than static displays of concept vehicles. Visitors are encouraged to travel around the city of Munich via new methods of mobility as the show itself is spread across various locations.
BMW will thus be using the iX5 Hydrogen to mobilise visitors along the 12-km Blue Lane connecting the main exhibition grounds with other exhibition venues in the city centre. Only climate-friendly vehicles are allowed to travel in this exclusive route.
Using the G05 BMW X5 as a base, the iX5 Hydrogen combines fuel cell technology with existing fifth-generation BMW eDrive systems. Fuel cells operate by reacting oxygen in the ambient air with hydrogen gas in a process called electrolysis.
The by-product of this chemical reaction- water vapour and electricity and plenty of it. The electricity is stored in a compact battery and is also immediately used to propel the vehicle. In this BMW iX5 Hydrogen vehicle, the system output is 374 hp, more than the recently launched BMW iX3 BEV model.
The large hydrogen tanks made from carbon fibre holds six kilograms of the H2 gas and BMW say with the right refilling station, it only takes three to four minutes for refilling.
This experimental electric BMW X5 is also trialling some components, such as Pirelli tyres made from certified sustainable natural rubber tree farms as well as 3D printed parts on the rim inserts, kidney grille and interior trim panels.