BMW X5 To Get Hydrogen Fuel Cell By 2022

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - July 27, 2020

BMW and Toyota’s partnership won’t end with the new Z4 and Supra, and sports cars won’t be the only thing the two brands work together on. According to Bloomberg, BMW will introduce a hydrogen fuel-cell powered version of the X5 SUV, which will be called the i Hydrogen NEXT, using fuel cells from Toyota.

We’ve known about the i Hydrogen Next for some time. We saw the SUV as early as September 2019 and then got more information on the vehicle this April. Now, Bloomberg reports that the vehicle will be entering limited production.

Unlike a traditional electric vehicle, hydrogen fuel-cell cars combine hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity. The power generated from the mixture powers the vehicle’s drivetrain. A battery pack is also included in the mix that provides extra power. Combined output for the SUV is rated at 374 horsepower. While EVs can take hours to fully charge, it only takes a few minutes to fill up on hydrogen – if you can find a place to fill up.

BMW X5

That’s been the biggest issue with hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles – the lack of available chargers. Only California has hydrogen charging stations that consumers can use and the number of available stations dwarfs the number of available places owners behind the wheel of a gas- or an electric-powered vehicle can fuel up their vehicles. With fuel-cell vehicles only being available in California and no other automaker offering a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle in the U.S., we think the chances of BMW bringing the i Hydrogen Next to America are slim. Bloomberg’s report doesn’t say anything about BMW bringing the fuel-cell SUV to the U.S., either. There are only a few hydrogen vehicles on the market, including the Hyundai Nexo, Toyota Mirai, and Honda Clarity Fuel Cell. All of those cars are only sold in California.

While hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles haven’t caught on in the U.S., things are looking up for the power source in Germany. As Bloomberg points out, Germany recently invested roughly $8.1 billion into bolstering the country’s domestic hydrogen industry. The country wants to generate 5 gigawatts of green hydrogen production capacity by 2030 and then double that amount by 2035.

"We are convinced that various alternative powertrain systems will exist alongside one another in future, as there is no single solution that addresses the full spectrum of customers' mobility requirements worldwide," said Klaus Fröhlich, member of the board of management of BMW AG, Research and Development, last fall. "The hydrogen fuel cell technology could quite feasibly become the fourth pillar of our powertrain portfolio in the long term. The upper-end models in our extremely popular X family would make particularly suitable candidates here."

While the i Hydrogen Next will be BMW’s only fuel-cell vehicle on sale, the automaker has worked on hydrogen-powered vehicles before. The automaker built a fuel-cell variant of the 7-Series back in 2005. BMW has also been testing a fleet of 5-Series GT hydrogen fuel-cell EVs since 2015. The i Hydrogen Next will enter limited production in 2022.

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Pictured: 2020 BMW X5

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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