Charging into the future with BMW iX5 Hydrogen
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Charging into the future with BMW iX5 Hydrogen

Charging into the future with BMW iX5 Hydrogen

The SUV is expected to hit the showrooms by the end of the decade

Charging into the future with BMW iX5 Xydrogen

“Hydrogen is the missing piece of the puzzle for emission-free mobility because a single technology will not be enough to enable climate-neutral mobility worldwide,” BMW Group’s chairman of the board of management Oliver Zipse said earlier in 2023 when the auto giant launched a pilot fleet of hydrogen-powered cars.

The promise of hydrogen power has tempted the auto industry for more than half a century, and it seems the versatile energy source is finally or at least almost ready for primetime.

Perhaps this has something to do with the attractiveness of GCC countries for green hydrogen investments, with as much as $200bn in projected revenues by 2050.

Or maybe it’s because global auto giants BMW and Toyota have been co-developing hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Charging into the future with BMW iX5 XydrogenTo claim a higher stake in a segment currently dominated by Korean and Japanese brands, the BMW iX5 concept vehicle is reflective of the company’s commitment to sustainability.

The German automaker completed intensive rounds of hot-weather testing of its iX5 Hydrogen fleet in the UAE in September. Despite temperatures reaching 45°C and having to tackle sand, dust, as well as varying gradients, the electric SUV’s fuel cell drive system performed flawlessly.

The good thing that I discovered during a brief drive of the luxury SUV in Dubai is that it is almost unremarkably normal. Given that the vehicle is built on the X5 platform, it feels as comfortable and composed as any other BMW – though that really shouldn’t come as a surprise.

So, buckle up for a ride into the future where power meets responsibility, and luxury intertwines with sustainability.

Performance that ignites passion

The iX5 Hydrogen promises to be a groundbreaker for BMW, with lots of innovations rolled into a package that looks identical to the rest of the X5 lineup.

The concept vehicle is powered by a fuel cell system that generates 125 kW/170 hp and a highly integrated drive unit using fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology – the electric motor, transmission and power electronics are grouped together in a compact housing.

Combined, the overall drive system delivers 295 kW/401 hp.

Step on the pedal, and the iX5 Hydrogen responds with a surge of power and can take you from 0 to 100km in under six seconds – making it as fast and agile as any other BMW.

This hydrogen-powered beast accelerates with quiet confidence, effortlessly blending performance and environmental consciousness in a symphony of driving delight.

Charging into the future with BMW iX5 XydrogenBraking was easy, like regenerative brakes in electric vehicles, by simply lifting your foot off the accelerator, the SUV slowed.

Aside from the occasional hum of the fuel cell doing its thing, the iX5 Hydrogen is as serene as you would imagine a fully electric X5 would be. The ride is smooth, quiet, and refined.

The hydrogen needed to power the fuel cell is stored in a pair of 700-bar tanks made from carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic.

Together, these tanks can hold around six kg of hydrogen and the storage capacity gives the iX5 Hydrogen a range of 504 km (313 miles) electric range with a full tank.

The looks of it

The iX5 concept vehicle is an example of what BMW thinks SUVs should be decades from now: luxurious, efficient, and sustainable. Inside, the vehicle is a sanctuary of opulence.

Premium materials, state-of-the-art technology, and thoughtful details create an ambience that resonates with the Arab world’s taste.

This isn’t just any ordinary hydrogen car; the BMW iX5 is an experience of indulgence and forward-thinking sophistication. The vehicle is seamless inside between front and rear, and morphs between drive modes and appearance based on the mood of the driver.

Its steering is pleasantly direct, and its air springs and adaptive dampers return nicely balanced body motions.

Meanwhile, individual exterior and interior design elements highlight the car’s ties to the BMW i brand, as well as its specific drive technology.

The inner edging of the BMW kidney grille, the inserts in the 22-inch aerodynamic wheels and the attachments in the outer portion of the rear apron are all in blue accents, which sets it apart from its conventional twin.

Entry sills and cover trim for the instrument panel also sport a ‘hydrogen fuel cell’ badge.

The iX5 concept has emerged as a beacon of innovation, seamlessly marrying cutting-edge technology with the epitome of automotive elegance.

The hydrogen potential

With many people hesitant to associate themselves with the troubles that come with owning an electric car, hydrogen could gain a foothold faster, thanks to short refueling times.

However, a key challenge, as with electric cars, is for an entire network of hydrogen refuelling stations to be built.

Charging into the future with BMW iX5 XydrogenNevertheless, the hydrogen fuel cell technology seems like the next big thing for automotive applications, thanks to its quick fueling times, zero emissions and the ability to provide long driving range.

Filling up the iX5 takes three to four minutes – so there are no limits on using the vehicle for long distances.

In addition, the SUV’s range is unaffected by weather conditions, as proven by the vehicle’s real-world testing, meaning it delivers a smooth, quiet driving experience no matter where life goes.

The iX5 Hydrogen transcends the ordinary, offering a glimpse into the future of automotive excellence. It invites you to drive into the future, where power, elegance, and sustainability merge seamlessly.

BMW is part of international partners that are working with ADNOC Group and ENOC Group in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, respectively, to test the long-term viability of hydrogen vehicles in the UAE.

The country aims to produce 1.4 million tons of hydrogen annually by 2031 as part of its climate neutrality goals, and the figure is expected to increase by tenfold to 15 million by 2050.

BMW iX5 Hydrogen is expected to hit showrooms by the end of the decade, a time at which the brand expects electric and hydrogen cars to claim a more than 50 per cent share of its overall sales.

Read: How BMW is accelerating smart mobility in the Middle East

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