Hydrogen fuel cell technology also enables unrestricted sustainable mobility at extremely low outside temperatures.
The BMW iX5 Hydrogen is undergoing a demanding test program in extremely difficult weather conditions. This is all part of the car’s final winter tests on public roads and at the BMW Group’s test center in Arjeplog, northern Sweden. Integrated functional testing and validation of the fuel cell system, hydrogen tanks, full power battery and vehicle central control unit have confirmed that this additional CO2-free mobility option can also be relied upon to deliver pleasure. sustainable driving with high levels of comfort and unrestricted performance in extreme sub-zero temperatures.
The tests carried out near the Arctic Circle allow the BMW Group to continue with the development process of the BMW iX5 Hydrogen. The company will produce a small series of the model later in the year and has also pledged to help expand the network of hydrogen filling stations. “Winter tests in extreme conditions clearly show that the BMW iX5 Hydrogen can also deliver full performance in temperatures as low as -20°C and thus represents a viable alternative to a vehicle powered by a battery electric drive system. », says Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development. “For us to be able to offer our customers a fuel cell drive system as an attractive sustainable mobility solution, a sufficiently extensive hydrogen infrastructure is also necessary.”
In these tests on ice and snow around Arjeplog, the BMW iX5 Hydrogen is dedicated to demonstrating the reliability, comfort and power of its hydrogen fuel cell drive system, which can already meet the needs of mobility of everyday life. After racking up hundreds of dyno sessions and extensive road field testing, this adds another chapter to its development story.
The evidence is plain to see: here, in this extreme cold, the hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system shows the same everyday usability as a conventional internal combustion engine. Full system power appears quickly. Even in these freezing conditions, the propulsion system continues to offer its full range. And replenishing the hydrogen tanks takes only three to four minutes, even in the dead of winter. “The hydrogen fuel cell propulsion system combines the best of both worlds, regardless of the time of year and outside temperatures: it offers the local emissions-free mobility of an electric vehicle and the unrestricted daily use capability – including short stops for refueling – which is known from models with an internal combustion engine,” says Jürgen Guldner, Vice President Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology and Vehicle Projects at the BMW Group.
The drive system of the
BMW iX5 Hydrogen combines fuel cell technology with an electric motor using fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology. The hydrogen it uses as an energy source is stored in two 700 bar tanks made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). The fuel cell converts hydrogen into electrical energy, generating a power of 125 kW/170 hp. In addition, the electric motor can add energy stored in a battery to the mix. This battery is charged through energy recovery or the fuel cell. All this means that the system power of 275 kW/374 PS is available when the driver decides to explore the upper limits of the car’s dynamic capabilities. The only emission from the fuel cell is water vapour. And its residual heat is used with particular efficiency to heat the interior of the car.
The combination of the fuel cell and the maximum power battery gives the BMW iX5 Hydrogen a drive system that is unique in the world. Its technology has the potential to add another pillar to the BMW Group’s powertrain portfolio for locally CO2-free mobility. BMW i, as a fully mobility-focused brand producing zero local emissions, could in future offer vehicles with a hydrogen fuel cell drive system alongside its battery electric models. This would allow it, above all, to meet the mobility needs of customers who do not have their own access to electric charging infrastructure, who frequently travel long distances or who want a high degree of flexibility.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.