BMW to enter hydrogen market with new SUV model

BMW have announced that they will be entering the fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) market, with the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT model set to be released in limited numbers in 2022.

BMW will test the waters with fuel-cell technology for the first time with the hydrogen version of the popular X5 SUV, with a small number to be released to scope customer interest.

FCEVs have long been considered a potential alternative to electric vehicles in a post-fossil fuel automotive world due to the extended driving range provided as well as the quick refuelling times. The i Hydrogen NEXT is no different, with an expected 440km range and refuelling time of just 3-4 minutes, approximately the same amount of time it takes to fill up a car with petrol.

BMW’s first FCEV comes with two 700 bar hydrogen tanks with 6kg capacity, a system developed through BMW’s hydrogen development partnership with Toyota. The fuel cell can hold up to 125kW which is delivered to BMW’s 275kW electric motor.

The biggest barrier in the way of global uptake, and the reason why BMW will release only a limited supply of i Hydrogen NEXT vehicles, is the lack of re-fuelling infrastructure currently available commercially around the world. Should the technology be widely accepted by consumers, BMW says they expect to expand in this area as it increases consumer offering.

BMW have reportedly been considering FCEVs for some time now, with board member Klaus Frohlich saying there is room for them in the BMW family if the public decides they want them.

“They hydrogen fuel cell technology could quite feasibly become the fourth pillar of our powertrain portfolio in the long term,” said Frohlich. “The upper-end models in our extremely popular X family would make particularly more suitable candidates here.”

BMW have already floated the idea of adding the hydro X6 and X7 models to the line-up should they receive positive feedback from the X5.

Source: Practicalmotoring | BMW confirms hydrogen-powered SUV model

1 April 2020