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BMW Plans To Have A Hydrogen SUV On The Market By 2030 – HotCars

by Oct 31, 2022Blog0 comments

While Mercedes and Audi have stalled with their hydrogen projects, BMW has been busy teaming up with Toyota to develop the iX5 Hydrogen.
A BMW executive revealed last month that the German automaker’s in-development fuel cell SUV – the BMW iX5 Hydrogen – will enter mass production as early as 2025. BMW will develop the SUV in partnership with Toyota, and they will continue working together on hydrogen projects. The news comes as the US Department of Energy (DOE) calls for applications for projects in "Nuclear Coupled Hydrogen Production and Use."
According to the US Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, “selected awardees could design and develop the heat-extraction infrastructure needed for a nuclear and hydrogen industrial energy park or develop hydrogen-coupled end uses for nuclear-produced hydrogen.” Meanwhile, Mercedes and Audi have abandoned initial plans for hydrogen passenger cars as BMW begins making fuel-cell systems for its fleet of hydrogen-powered cars. The partnership with Toyota allows the Japanese automotive giant to provide fuel cells while BMW puts the system together.
“Hydrogen will become more relevant in individual mobility due to its advantages,” Chief Executive Officer of BMW, Oliver Zipse, said at an opening event for the production site in Munich this August. “Hydrogen-powered cars are the ideal technology for us to complement pure battery-electric vehicles.”
BMW plans to produce around a hundred of the iX5 Hydrogen SUVs by the end of this year for testing, and is “seriously considering” mass-producing fuel cell cars within this decade.
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All current indication points to the upcoming 2023 BMW iX5 Hydrogen as more than just a science project. If all goes according to plan (which we’re pretty confident it will), the world will have its first hydrogen-powered passenger car by the end of 2022, with mass production following as early as 2025. The initial test run with fewer than a hundred iX5s will prove the car's readiness for the fuel-cell future, while German rivals – Mercedes and Audi – threw in the towel on the viability of fuel-cell passenger cars.
Battery-electric gets considered central to the future of automotive, but the perspective is increasingly shifting towards hydrogen fuel cells. Transportation contributes a significant percentage of global greenhouse gases. According to the EPA, the transport sector generates the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions (27% as of 2020), including cars, trucks, ships, trains, and planes. Over 90% of the fuel used for transportation is petroleum-based – primarily gasoline and diesel.
For these reasons, battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cells have emerged as viable solutions for decarbonization. However, the drawback with electric vehicles is that they’re best for smaller and lighter vehicles, since lithium-ion batteries only have 1% of petrol and diesel energy density. That's where hydrogen fuel cell EVs come in because they possess far greater energy storage density than lithium-ion batteries.
It also provides a significant range advantage for electric vehicles without taking up as much room. You could refuel hydrogen-powered vehicles in minutes, but not so with battery charging. Perhaps, BMW’s confidence partly stems from Germany’s recent €9 billion investment into hydrogen infrastructure, while also trusting in Toyota's deep expertise.
The 2023 BMW iX5 houses its hydrogen in two 700-bar, carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic tanks, where it produces a humble 170 horsepower on its own. The horses are inadequate for the 5,000 plus lb SUV, so BMW employs a larger electric drive battery, which can get charged via the fuel cell or energy recuperation (such as regenerative braking) to send a combined 374 horsepower to the rear wheels via a single e-motor. If you think that isn’t a lot of oomph, consider the X5 xDrive45e plug-in hybrid makes 389 horsepower.
This August, Nikkei Asia reported that BMW's sales chief, Pieter Nota, said the German and Japanese automotive giants will team up to produce hydrogen fuel cell vehicles starting mid-decade. It wouldn’t be BMW and Toyota’s first time working together. Back in 2019, the 2020 Toyota Supra got developed alongside the BMW Z4 in Austria, with the pair sharing much together, such as the Supra’s BMW-sourced inline-six, chassis, and eight-speed automatic transmission.
Moreover, after about a decade-long experience with the hydro/oxy Mirai midsize sedan, Toyota is well versed in fuel cell technology. Our primary dilemma here is that the US network of public hydrogen stations concentrates in California, so we have to live there to consider the practicality of owning a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle like the upcoming BMW iX5.
The BMW-Toyota joint venture allows both companies to hedge their investments in zero-emission vehicles, considering that BMW’s target is for EVs to comprise half of its corporate brand sales, including Rolls-Royce and MINI, by the end of the decade.
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BMW has already kicked off in-house, small-scale production of fuel cells for use in the iX5. The BMW’s fuel cells will generate a high continuous output of 170 horsepower, paired with an e-motor using the BMW's 5th-gen eDrive technology and a larger battery that enables the powertrain to deliver 374 horsepower. The small fleet of hydrogen SUVs will roll out before the end of this year, strictly for demonstration purposes.
However, the company's chairman Oliver Zipse has said BMW plans to have hydrogen cars in dealerships by 2030. He further explained that all future BMW models will get built with adaptability, allowing them to accommodate different powertrains. The paltry number of hydrogen filling stations globally sounds discouraging, but Zipse believes hydrogen-powered cars are the future.
“If you have an architecture package (that is ready for) hydrogen, it is exactly the same size as your battery pack. It's not a problem at all,” Zipse said. “That’s why architectures are so important. Flexible architectures are the key to everything. And if you have not thought about that, you will not be able to offer your products in specific regions in the future. We will launch a hydrogen car before this decade ends. That's not that far away. Just over eight years.”
The Chairman also said BMW will hone in on wherever hydrogen will prove ideal, even if the area currently has poor hydro-charging architecture. “That’s already visible today,” he said. “And at the same time, you will get local regulations where you have to be emission-free. The only option in these markets is hydrogen, especially for larger cars.”
Philip Uwaoma, this bearded black male from Nigeria, is fast approaching two million words in articles published on various websites, including,, and After not getting credit for his work on Auto Quarterly, Philip is now convinced that ghostwriting sucks. He has no dog, no wife- yet- and he loves Rolls Royce a little too much.