BMW believes hydrogen has benefits that should be exploited
Toyota is a leader in hydrogen-powered vehicles
The hydrogen iX5 will be mass produced starting in 2025
A few automakers are looking at possible alternatives to battery electric vehicles that would combine the advantages of gasoline engines with the absence of tailpipe emissions of EVs.
One of the solutions that have already been on the market for a few years is hydrogen power, where electric vehicles are powered by a hydrogen fuel cell instead of a battery.
Currently, only Hyundai and Toyota offer hydrogen-powered vehicles and only in markets where the infrastructure needed to fill them up is already fairly developed.
This is because the costs involved in creating a hydrogen fill-up station are much higher than the ones for electric vehicle chargers and a typical station can end up costing millions of dollars.
This hasn’t stopped BMW from jumping on the hydrogen bandwagon however since the German automaker has now announced a partnership with Toyota in order to develop a hydrogen-powered iX5.
The company is expected to use a powertrain similar to the one found in the Toyota Mirai since it expects to begin mass production of this model as soon as 2025.
The iX5 will most likely not be the only BMW vehicle to receive a fuel cell version since the automaker hinted at more models and patented a new fuel cell design.
Unlike current hydrogen vehicles and even the iX5, the patent shows a fuel cell that is spread out under the entire floor of the vehicle rather than being constricted to a T-shaped pack installed in the middle of the chassis.
This would allow more space inside and particularly in the cargo compartment, but it would also make it easier to produce battery electric and fuel cell versions of the same vehicle.
This is interesting because the automaker’s Neue Klasse platform that will debut later in the decade is said to be engineered with multiple power sources in mind.
In order to keep the fuel cell safe in the event of a side impact, BMW’s patent shows each of the individual tanks are installed on flexible mounting points that allow each of them to move independently up to six inches without rupturing.
It is interesting to see Toyota and BMW collaborating on this project, but this isn’t the first time both automakers have worked together since the current BMW Z4 and Toyota Supra are essentially the same vehicles with a different body.