BMW Bringing iX5 Hydrogen To America In Limited Numbers

Technology / Comments

But you won't be able to buy one just yet.

BMW's Spartanburg plant is currently busy building a fleet of hydrogen-powered X5s, only five of which will eventually be made available in the USA.

According to BMW Blog, the Spartanburg plant will build the units, after which they'll be shipped to Munich, where each unit will be equipped with two hydrogen tanks and a hydrogen fuel cell - parts which have already commenced production. Following that, only five models will return to the United States, but there's currently no clear plan for how these models will be used. They'll be back in the USA by the end of 2023.

"A fleet of five iX5 Hydrogen vehicles will be coming to the US as part of this global pilot program," a BMW spokesperson said. "As they are still experimental prototypes, there are rules that prevent us from simply releasing them to the public as we did with past programs. We are currently devising plans to get the vehicles into the hands of as many media and other stakeholders as we can, but those plans are still in development."


The hydrogen-powered BMW X5, or iX5 Hydrogen as BMW chose to name it, is part of the German brand's ambitious future plans. BMW is not giving in to political pressure and believes there is a future for internal combustion engines, electric vehicles, and hydrogen-electric vehicles like the iX5.

Producing the iX5 and putting it on the road is the next big step in building a viable hydrogen product. BMW's CEO, Oliver Zipse, believes it can produce a proper hydrogen car for the masses before the decade's end.

The five cars will be evaluated in California because that's where the hydrogen infrastructure is. Even so, EV-friendly California only has 81 hydrogen stations. Toyota and Hyundai only sell the Mirai and Nexo in California for this very reason.


The lack of infrastructure is hydrogen's biggest problem, though the situation will likely improve thanks to BMW and Honda, which will introduce a hydrogen-powered CR-V in 2024. We already know California will spend billions on building more EV and hydrogen stations.

Charging time is the main reason hydrogen is a suitable replacement for internal combustion. There is no charging time as you drive into a gas station and fill up like you usually would. The onboard tanks take up to 13 pounds of hydrogen, which is pumped into the cells in less than five minutes. BMW has already improved on this with a new underfloor storage system, which has less impact on passenger and luggage space. This underfloor storage is not the basis of the iX5, which uses two tanks in a T-shape, but will likely be used in future production FCEVs from BMW.

There's no compromise in performance and range either. The iX5's fifth-gen electric motor produces 369 horsepower and can cover 310 miles between refills.


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