The BMW Group has started manufacturing the BMW iX5 Hydrogen. At its Munich Research and Innovation Center, the small-series hydrogen-powered car is being produced at the pilot plant (FIZ).
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Testing program completed
In spring 2023, the first Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) using hydrogen fuel cell technology will be utilized as a technology demonstration for local carbon-free travel in certain areas after completing an extensive testing program under harsh circumstances throughout the development phase.
“Hydrogen is a versatile energy source that has a key role to play as we progress towards climate neutrality. We are certain that hydrogen is set to gain significantly in importance for individual mobility and therefore consider a mixture of battery and fuel cell electric drive systems to be a sensible approach in the long term.
Fuel cells don’t require any critical raw materials such as cobalt, lithium or nickel either, so by investing in this type of drive system we are also strengthening the geopolitical resilience of the BMW Group. Our BMW iX5 Hydrogen test fleet will allow us to gain new and valuable insights, enabling us to present customers with an attractive product range once the hydrogen economy becomes a widespread reality.” said Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Development.
The BMW iX5 Hydrogen is built in a unique facility in Munich
The BMW Group’s Research and Innovation Center in Munich houses the pilot facility where the BMW iX5 Hydrogen is being made. Every new model from a corporate brand is first produced here, at the point where development and production meet. In the body shop, assembly, model engineering, concept vehicle building, and additive manufacturing, there are around 900 employees.
They are entrusted with ensuring that the product and the manufacturing process are prepared for mass production while working on up to six vehicle projects at once. To combine the most advanced motor and energy storage technologies into the BMW iX5 Hydrogen, experts in hydrogen technology, vehicle development, and early assembly of new models have been closely collaborating.
“Production of the BMW iX5 Hydrogen and the BMW-developed fuel cell systems demonstrates our supreme flexibility and unrivalled know-how in the field of small-scale manufacture. It shows we already boast the necessary expertise for integrating hydrogen technology into the BMW iFACTORY production system as an additional type of drive.” said Milan Nedeljković, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Production.
BMW plants from around the world are contributing to the project
The hydrogen variant, which is built on the BMW X5 chassis, receives its base cars from BMW Group Plant Spartanburg in the United States. The two hydrogen tanks can fit in the center tunnel and under the rear seat unit thanks to the installation of a redesigned floor assembly in the body shop of the pilot plant.
Along with conventional manufacturing components, the model-specific 12V and 400V electrical systems, high-performance batteries, electric motors, and fuel cells are all incorporated during the assembly stage.
The electric motor, which is part of the current, fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology used in battery-electric and plug-in hybrid cars from BMW, is located at the back axle together with the high-performance battery.
Since August of this year, the fuel cell systems found under the hood of the BMW iX5 Hydrogen have been produced in BMW’s own hydrogen competence center in Garching, which is situated north of Munich.
The Additive Manufacturing Campus, the BMW Group’s 3D printing expertise center, which is also a part of the pilot plant, produces a number of components specifically for the hydrogen-powered SAV. The BMW iX5 Hydrogen through all the typical manufacturing steps, beginning in the body shop and continuing through the paint shop, assembly, and final inspection of each individual car.
The BMW Group’s test center in Aschheim then performs a thorough operational inspection of each car.
The BMW iX5 Hydrogen combines exceptional daily usability and long-distance capability with all the advantages of a completely emission-free propulsion system. As a result, its hydrogen fuel cell technology is a desirable addition to the battery electric motor system.
This is particularly true for users for whom quick refueling breaks and long ranges are essential, as well as for geographical areas that currently do not have a suitable infrastructure for charging.