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BMW Australia showcases iX5 Hydrogen pilot

Hydrogen-powered iX5 pilot vehicle aims to shine a light on technology, infrastructure needs

26 Jun 2024

AUSTRALIA is the latest stop on a world tour of the BMW iX5 Hydrogen – a pilot vehicle the German marque is showcasing around the globe as it works toward developing a fuel cell hydrogen-powered range of models for the not-too-distant future.


Developed in collaboration with Toyota, whose Mirai-sourced fuel cell stack provides the prototype with its electric power, the BMW iX5 Hydrogen can produce up to 295kW of motive power alongside a very useful 504km of driving range (WLTP).


BMW Australia has taken delivery of two iX5 Hydrogen FCEVs for local testing and events to underline the everyday usability of hydrogen-powered transport.


The vehicles, built as part of a pilot series, are fully functional and have already covered thousands of kilometres of testing, taking part in drive programs in Europe, Japan, South Korea, China, the United States of America, the Middle East, and South Africa.


BMW says the global test program has been designed to gain important information and knowledge for the development of a potential series-production FCEV model.


At this stage, the iX5 Hydrogen FCEV will provide support on a regional level for the development of infrastructure that can be used with the model’s 700bar refuelling technology – a technology present in many other hydrogen-powered cars, buses, trucks, and utility vehicles.


BMW said the synergies between different areas of application also offer important scope for developing a strong network of suppliers in hydrogen technology and reducing costs.


Further, it says the deployment of the pilot vehicles enables select test groups who have not been involved in the development process to get behind the ‘wheel of the iX5 Hydrogen FCEV and “gain a direct impression of its attributes”.


The arrival of the BMW iX5 Hydrogen pilot vehicles comes at a time when the Australian government readies the introduction of the New Vehicle Efficiency Standard (NVES) as part of its long-term climate protection goals. The NVES will set emissions targets for every new vehicle sold in Australia.


The Australian leg of the BMW iX5 Hydrogen pilot vehicles’ global tour will enable the BMW Group to gain further knowledge and data as part of its fact finding and feasibility study that may help support the move toward hydrogen powered vehicles in the future.


“Australia is a key focus for our program, firstly because of the important steps the country is taking in decarbonising its vehicle fleet,” said BMW Group general project manager of hydrogen technology and vehicle project Dr Juergen Guldner.


“However, the country is also an interesting study due to its varied driving conditions and the long distances covered between towns and cities. With the appropriate infrastructure, an FCEV would make a strong mobility case due to its range capability and short refuelling time.


“We look forward to putting the iX5 Hydrogen on the road across the country and showcasing the technology – and its many practical benefits – to different groups. Everything we learn will be directly beneficial to our consideration of the role an FCEV might play in our future product line-up.”


The BMW IX5 Hydrogen is produced in the pilot vehicle plant in the Munich Research and Innovation Centre. Around 900 employees work there in areas including body manufacture, assembly, model engineering, concept vehicle construction and additive manufacturing, ensuring that both the product and the production process are ready for series production.


Specialists in hydrogen technology, vehicle development and initial assembly of new models worked closely on developing the iX5 Hydrogen with the ultimate aim of transforming the mobility sector.


“Hydrogen is a versatile energy source that has a key role to play in the energy transition process and therefore in climate protection,” said BMW Group chairman of the board of management Oliver Zipse at the program’s debut in February.


“After all, it is one of the most efficient ways of storing and transporting renewable energies. We should use this potential to also accelerate the transformation of the mobility sector.


“Hydrogen is the missing piece in the jigsaw when it comes to emission-free mobility. One technology on its own will not be enough to enable climate-neutral mobility worldwide.”


Visit GoAuto again soon for our Australian test drive of the 2024 BMW iX5 Hydrogen FCEV.


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