Munich . The BMW Group is consistently advancing the development of hydrogen fuel cell technology as an additional option for sustainable individual mobility.
Two years after the debut of the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT concept vehicle, the company is presenting the BMW iX5 Hydrogen at the IAA Mobility 2021 in Munich. The Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) with hydrogen fuel cell drive, which is currently still in its series development process, can be experienced, among other things, in active driving on the Blue Lane, which connects the exhibition grounds with the other exhibition locations in the city center.
The vehicle, which was developed on the basis of the BMW X5, will be used in a small series for demonstration and testing purposes from the end of next year. Its hydrogen fuel cell system is further evidence of the BMW Group’s leading development expertise in the field of electric drive technologies. “With its high-performance fuel cell and optimized performance battery, the BMW iX5 Hydrogen has a drive system that is unique in the world,” says Jürgen Guldner, Head of the BMW Group Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology and Vehicle Projects. “We are thus opening up new ways for sustainable driving pleasure.”
Given the right framework conditions, hydrogen fuel cell technology has the potential to form a further pillar in the BMW Group’s drive portfolio for locally CO2-free mobility. The BMW i brand, which is fully geared towards locally emission-free mobility, could in future also offer vehicles with hydrogen fuel cell drives in addition to battery-electric models such as the BMW i3, BMW iX3, BMW iX and BMW i4. Provided that hydrogen is generated using regenerative energy and the corresponding infrastructure, this technology can complement the BMW Group’s electrified drive portfolio and, in particular, meet the requirements of customers who do not have their own access to the electric charging infrastructure.
Model-specific design features from 3D printing for the locally emission-free Sports Activity Vehicle.
The BMW iX5 Hydrogen is a modern, luxury-class Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) that combines its pioneering drive technology with the powerful proportions, comfort and versatility of a BMW X model. Individual design features for the exterior and interiorindicate the affiliation with the BMW i brand as well as the specific drive technology. The inner area of the surround for the BMW kidney grille, the inserts in the 22-inch aerodynamic wheels and the attachments in the outer area of the rear apron are in BMW i Blue. The door sills and the trim on the dashboard are labeled “Hydrogen Fuel Cell”.
In addition, both the decorative grilles of the cooling air openings on the front of the BMW iX5 Hydrogen and the rear apron and its diffuser element have their own design. The decorative grilles for the BMW kidney grille, the lower and the two outer air inlets, as well as the body elements on the lower rear end, come from the BMW Group’s Additive Manufacturing Campus. This is where prototype and series components are created using the 3D printing process. So-called additive manufacturing enables the fast and highly flexible production of components that can also have geometric shapes that cannot be realized using conventional production processes.
Consistent sustainability: aerodynamic wheels and tires made of natural rubber.
The aerodynamic wheels of the BMW iX5 Hydrogen are fitted with sustainably produced tires made of natural rubber and rayon. The raw materials required for this are obtained in accordance with the standards of the independent Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The BMW Group is the first automobile manufacturer in the world to already use the tires manufactured exclusively by Pirelli from certified natural rubber and the wood-based material rayon in series automobiles.
Typical BMW driving dynamics, great suitability for long journeys.
The BMW iX5 Hydrogen combines fuel cell technology with a fifth generation BMW eDrive. Its drive system uses hydrogen as an energy carrier and converts it into electricity in a fuel cell. An electrical output of up to 125 kW / 170 PS is generated and the only emission released is water vapor. With this drive power, even high speeds can be kept constant over longer distances.The electric motor comes from the fifth generation of BMW eDrive technology, as used in the BMW iX, among other things. In overrun and braking phases, it takes on the function of a generator that feeds energy into a power battery. The energy stored in this power battery is also used for particularly sporty driving maneuvers. This provides a system output of 275 kW / 374 PS , which ensures the driving experience that is typical of the brand.
The hydrogen required to supply the fuel cell is stored in two 700 bar tanks made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). Together they hold almost six kilograms of hydrogen. “Filling the hydrogen tanks only takes three to four minutes , so that the BMW iX5 Hydrogen can be used without restrictions even on long journeys with just a few and also short stops,” explains Jürgen Guldner.
Hydrogen as part of global activities for CO2-free mobility.
According to the report by the IEA (International Energy Agency), hydrogen offers considerable potential as an energy carrier of the futureas part of the global energy transition activities. Due to its storage and transport capacity, hydrogen can be used in a wide variety of applications. A large number of industrialized countries are therefore pursuing hydrogen strategies and storing them with roadmaps and specific projects. In the transport sector, hydrogen can become a further technology option in addition to battery-electric mobility, with which long-term, sustainable individual mobility can be designed. In addition to sufficient and competitive production of hydrogen from green electricity, the prerequisite for this is, above all, the expansion of the corresponding tank infrastructure, which is already being intensively promoted in numerous countries.
The BMW Group welcomes and supports activities to promote innovations in Germany and Europe, which serve to build a hydrogen economy and promote the production of green hydrogen. This includes in particular the large-scale hydrogen projects summarized in the IPCEI (Important Projects of Common European Interest). The initiative of the European Union, funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Transport in Germany, covers the entire value chain with its projects – from hydrogen production and transport to industrial applications.