The BMW i Hydrogen Next concept from IAA 2019 has evolved into a production model – the BMW iX5 Hydrogen. BMW Group showcased the hydrogen fuel-cell (FCEV) SUV at the 2021 Munich Motor Show (IAA 2021).
Video Source: YouTube/Motor1 Italia
Design & Features
The BMW iX5 Hydrogen is an alternative energy variant of the fourth-gen BMW X5 (BMW G05). It looks like the donor model for the most part, except the tweaks to highlight its BMW i model line identity.
At the front, the BMW iX5 Hydrogen has a sharper bumper and an exclusive mesh pattern for the BMW kidney grille and the lower air intake grille. The kidney grille has no vertical slats for a clean look, although the mesh pattern is in stark contrast. The “i” logo and the blue accents communicate the SUV’s connection with the BMW i brand. Even the bottom section of the bumper carries blue accents.
The parts covering the BMW kidney grille, the lower air intake, and the two outer air inlets, and the lower rear-end trim’s body elements come from BMW Group’s Additive Manufacturing Campus. This facility uses 3D printing to produce prototype and standard parts, and it can make even components having geometric shapes that are not possible to make with conventional production methods.
On the sides, the BMW iX5 Hydrogen gets the iX’s 22-inch Individual 1021-style aerodynamic alloy wheels, but with exclusive blue inserts in them. At the rear, the bumper has a model-specific design and features blue accents. The interior design of the iX5 is also the same as X5, and there are only minor visual differences here. There’s just a “hydrogen fuel cell” badge on the door sills and the passenger-side dashboard.
The BMW iX5 Hydrogen has two carbon-fiber hydrogen tanks that store almost 6 kg hydrogen (combined) at a pressure of 700 bar. Filling up the tanks 3-4 minutes, so the experience is similar to refueling a gasoline/diesel BMW X5. The vehicle’s drive system converts hydrogen into electricity in a fuel cell, delivering an electrical output of 125 kW/170 hp. The drive motor, which uses the fifth-gen BMW eDrive technology like the BMW iX, generates a power output of 275 kW (374 hp). An Autocar report says that the iX5 weighs roughly the same as an X5 PHEV, around 2,500 kg (5,512 lbs), and it delivers a range of 311 miles (500 km).
BMW Group plans to produce the BMW iX5 Hydrogen in limited numbers and sell it in select markets, one of which should be the U.S., with availability in California.
BMW Concept iX5 Hydrogen Protection VR6
Another hydrogen model that grabbed the media’s attention at IAA 2021 was the BMW Concept iX5 Hydrogen Protection VR6 (via press.bmwgroup.com). As the name suggests, it’s the armored variant of the Concept iX5, and the world’s first certified hydrogen fuel cell security vehicle.
Unlike typical gas-guzzling armored SUVs that feature six- or eight-cylinder engines, the Concept iX5 Hydrogen Protection VR6 emits no CO2. BMW has used molded parts made of high-strength steel, about 30 mm-thick protective glass, and tight protective sealing gaps in sensitive areas, such as doors and the body in the security variant. The luggage compartment partition of the BMW Concept iX5 Hydrogen Protection VR6 is also armored.
BMW developed its underbody to protect the vehicle from hand-grenade attacks. BMW engineers prioritized shielding the hydrogen tanks, including their valve systems. They used non-magnetic underbody protection, which is lightweight and has minimal effect on the ground clearance. There’s no plan to launch an armored BMW iX5 at the moment. However, the innovative concept opens up new possibilities of protecting leaders and VIPs in the carbon-neutral era.
Featured Image Source: BMW Group