The hydrogen powertrain is made by the automaker in Munich
The individual fuel cells are sourced from Toyota
The iX5 Hydrogen is an electric version of the X5 that is powered by hydrogen instead of a battery
BMW began small-scale production of its in-house hydrogen powertrain today ahead of the launch of the iX5 Hydrogen, a regular X5 powered by a fuel cell.
The automaker believes that hydrogen vehicles can evolve alongside fully electric vehicles in order to provide another powertrain option that could be better suited to the needs of certain customers.
BMW has been working on hydrogen powertrains with Toyota since 2013 and the upcoming iX5 Hydrogen will benefit from this collaboration.
Indeed, the fuel cell used in this vehicle will be built by BMW using individual cells supplied by Toyota.
The manufacturing process for the complete fuel cell calls for the individual cells to be stacked and then compressed into a specially designed aluminum housing.
Hydrogen vehicles are not as popular as battery electric models due to a number of factors that make it difficult to find a filling station, which is why the iX5 Hydrogen will not be a volume seller.
Indeed, BMW itself calls this model a small-series vehicle and it says it is bringing it to production to prove the maturity of hydrogen powertrains and thus generate more interest from consumers and competitors.
Few details are known about the iX5 Hydrogen except that it will look like a regular gasoline-powered X5 and that it will be equipped with both a fuel cell and a battery.
According to BMW, this combination will allow the SUV to deliver 374 horsepower, 170 of which will be coming from the fuel cell.
The wheels of the iX5 Hydrogen will be driven by an electric motor which is powered by the combination of the battery and the fuel cell instead of by a larger battery alone, as is the case with fully electric vehicles.
Sales of the iX5 Hydrogen are not expected to begin before 2025 but more hydrogen-powered BMW models could surface in the years following since the automaker recently filed a patent for a fuel cell design that is completely different from the one found in the current SUV.