We are, apparently, still nearly three years from a fuel cell-powered BMW X5. Based on the outgoing generation and set enter small-scale production in 2022, it is being previewed by the i Next Hydrogen Concept.
Presented at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, alongside the Concept 4 and its controversial grille, the study looks like just like the other versions of the premium SUV, albeit with a few visual updates like the blue accents on the grille, wheels, at the back and on the bodywork. The modifications make it instantly recognizable as a i model, according to its maker.
In order to bring the hydrogen-powered X5 to the market, BMW will capitalize on its partnership with Toyota. The two companies joined forces back in 2013 to co-develop a drive system using fuel cell technology, and two years later, the Germans started testing a prototype of the 5-Series GT that packed a Toyota fuel cell stack. The product development agreement was signed in 2016, and since then, they have been working on improving the technology.
BMW’s bet on hydrogen should pay off eventually, as like other fuel cell vehicles out there, an X5 with no carbon dioxide emissions at all will have a driving range comparable to petrol-powered models regardless of the outside temperature (an issue inherent to battery-electrics), while refueling the tank(s) will take less than 4 minutes.
Overall, the hydrogen-powered X5, like the show car whose specifications haven’t been made public yet, won’t compromise on comfort and towing capacity. The only problem that needs to be solved is the number of refueling stations which, we guess, is one of the reasons BMW isn’t in such a rush to roll out its FCV.