BMW hydrogen fuel cell

BMW has commenced fuel cell production at its competence centre for hydrogen in Munich.

The fuel cells will be used in a small series of BMW iX5 hydrogen cars, which will be entering service around the world from the end of this year for test and demonstration purposes.

BMW claims the combination of a fuel cell and high-performance battery will offer a unique form of drive system for the premium segment.

Oliver Zipse, chairman of the board of management of BMW, said: “As a versatile energy source, hydrogen has a key role to play on the road to climate neutrality. And it will also gain substantially in importance as far as personal mobility is concerned. We think hydrogen-powered vehicles are ideally placed technologically to fit alongside battery-electric vehicles and complete the electric mobility picture.”

“By commencing small-scale production of fuel cells today, we are demonstrating the technical maturity of this type of drive system and underscoring its potential for the future,” added Frank Weber, member of the board of management of BMW development. “Our many years of research and development work have enabled us to get the very most out of hydrogen technology.

“We have managed to more than double the fuel cell’s continuous output in the second-generation fuel cell in the BMW iX5 Hydrogen, while weight and size have both decreased drastically.”

The fuel cell in the BMW iX5 Hydrogen generates an output of 125 kW/170 hp, and is teamed with an electric motor featuring fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology and a high-performance battery purpose developed for the vehicle to enable its powertrain to deliver 275 kW/374 hp.

The development team incorporated the drive system – comprising two hydrogen tanks, the fuel cell and the electric motor – into the existing BMW X5 platform for the small production run.

The BMW Group sources the individual fuel cells required for manufacturing the BMW iX5 Hydrogen from the Toyota. The two companies have been collaborating on fuel cell drive systems since 2013.