BMW Group announced the launch of the BMW iX5 Hydrogen pilot vehicles, a fleet of demonstration cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The fleet will go into service this year, deployed internationally for demonstration and trial purposes.
The launch of the pilot hydrogen fleet comes as BMW aims to reduce CO2 emissions per vehicle over the full lifecycle – including supply chain, production and product use – by at least 40% by 2030. While most of the company’s focus is on the transition to battery electric vehicles, with a plan for 50% of company-wide sales to be EVs by 2030, the company said that it views fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) technology as “a potential addition to the drive technology used by battery-electric vehicles.”
Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, said:
“Hydrogen is the missing piece in the jigsaw when it comes to emission-free mobility. One technology on its own will not be enough to enable climate-neutral mobility worldwide.”
BMW said that the launch of the new hydrogen vehicle follows four years of development work, with the BMW iX5 Hydrogen first unveiled as a concept vehicle in 2019. The company sources the individual fuel cells for the vehicles from Toyota, who has been collaborating since 2013 with BMW on fuel cell drive systems. BMW Group produces the fuel cell systems for the pilot fleet at its in-house competence center for hydrogen in Munich, and the company also developed special hydrogen components for its new fuel cell system, including a high-speed compressor with turbine and a high-voltage coolant pump.
The vehicles can store nearly six kilograms of hydrogen in in two 700-bar tanks made of carbon-fibre reinforced plastic, providing the vehicles with a range of over 500 km.
In a statement announcing the launch of the pilot fleet, BMW Group said:
“With the right conditions, hydrogen fuel cell technology has the potential to become a further pillar in the BMW Group’s drive train portfolio for local CO2-free mobility.”