Back in March, BMW said it would present a small number of X5 models powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology in 2022. That plan is still on track, according to a new report from Bloomberg, and BMW CEO Oliver Zipse says hydrogen tech “could have the potential to become another pillar in the portfolio of BMW.”
Dubbed the BMW i Hydrogen Next, the midsize SUV will feature a 170-hp fuel cell system as well as the eDrive unit from the BMW iX3. Total system output is expected at 374 hp, according to early powertrain details released in March. As a hydrogen vehicle, the SUV will emit nothing but water vapor, and refueling should take around three to four minutes. Locating a convenient hydrogen fueling station, however, may remain a challenge.
Germany recently presented a plan to bolster its hydrogen industry with an investment of 7 billion euros. The country aims for 5 gigawatts of green hydrogen production capacity by 2030, with the intention of doubling that number by 2035.
Fuel cells in the hydrogen X5 will come from BMW’s partnership with Toyota that started in 2013. The fuel cell stack and overall system is being developed by BMW.
In March, BMW said it will bring out a more customer-oriented hydrogen vehicle in the second half of this decade, at the earliest. Meanwhile, BMW will rapidly expand its plug-in vehicles, with fully electric offerings like the iX3, i4, and iNext on the way within the next few years.