July 20, 2024
BMW Successfully Tests Hydrogen-Powered iX5 SUV in Harsh Desert Conditions

BMW Successfully Tests Hydrogen-Powered iX5 SUV in Harsh Desert Conditions

BMW’s hydrogen-powered iX5 SUV, part of the company’s pilot fleet, recently underwent rigorous testing in the unforgiving desert heat of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Launched in February this year, BMW’s pilot fleet is currently being tested in various countries worldwide. The successful test in the UAE demonstrates the vehicle’s ability to withstand extreme temperatures and challenging environmental conditions.

BMW had previously emphasized caution regarding the commercial availability of hydrogen-powered vehicles during its partnership announcement with Toyota in 2020. However, just three years later, the company has introduced its hydrogen pilot fleet, which is currently in operation in Korea, Japan, Europe, the US, China, and now the Middle East. The iX5 hydrogen fleet is equipped with carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic tanks, each holding approximately 6 kg (13.2 lb) of hydrogen fuel at a pressure of 700-bar (10,150 psi).

The dual tanks power the fuel-cell system, which converts hydrogen into electric power with an output of 125 kW/170 HP. The integrated drive unit combines the transmission, electric motor, and power electronics in a compact housing, enabling the vehicle to accelerate from 0-60 mph in under six seconds. The iX5 has a range of about 313 miles (504 km) and requires only 3-4 minutes for refueling.

One of the key objectives of the pilot fleet is to address the challenge of creating a robust refueling infrastructure to support wider adoption of hydrogen-powered vehicles. BMW aims to use the fleet to support the regional development of a refueling infrastructure compatible with 700-bar refueling technology across various vehicle categories, from passenger cars to heavy-duty commercial vehicles.

The BMW Group recognizes the potential for synergies between different applications of hydrogen technology, which can lead to a stronger network of hydrogen suppliers and reduced costs. While the commercial viability of hydrogen-powered cars is yet to be determined, several automakers, including Toyota and BMW, are exploring this technology. NamX, a new automaker, has announced a hydrogen-powered car that uses swappable hydrogen cartridges to overcome refueling infrastructure challenges. UK startup Viritech has unveiled a hydrogen-powered hypercar, and a student team from TU Delft set a Guinness distance record with a hydrogen-powered city car concept.

The successful performance of BMW’s iX5 hydrogen-powered SUV in the UAE reaffirms the company’s commitment to developing and testing alternative fuel technologies. As the demand for sustainable mobility solutions continues to rise, hydrogen-powered vehicles have the potential to play a significant role in reducing carbon emissions and promoting a greener future for the automotive industry.

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1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it