Categories: Tests

BMW iX5 Hydrogen test: solution for the future?

On the occasion of Munich Motor Show 2019BMW presented on its stand a hydrogen-powered X5 concept baptized iX5 Hydrogen. Four years later, the Bavarian firm arrives with a pilot fleet of this hydrogen-powered iX5. Enough to tickle our curiosity and to respond to the manufacturer’s call to take the wheel.

So is this hydrogen version a future solution ? Will it change the way we drive? This is what we will see during this test.

Hydrogen: miracle or mirage?

So does it change that much? hydrogen engine ? Are we entitled to a revolution as soon as we take our place behind the wheel?

If you are familiar with contemporary electric carsthe feeling of driving and above all the pleasure offered by this hydrogen engine will not disorient you.

For others, it means a maximum engine torque instantly available, all the time. With 650 Nm of torque, needless to say, this iX5 Hydrogen gets out of any situation. The 0 to 100 is announced in less than 6 seconds

In addition, the maximum power delivered by this iX5 Hydrogen is 401 ch !

A substantial technical sheet but all this is very necessary in order to move the 2.4 tons approximately of our hydrogen SUV!

Always further ?

So this additional overweight is readily explained by the two hydrogen tanks housed in the transmission tunnel. These carry 6 kg of hydrogen. Precisely thanks to these 6 kg of hydrogen, BMW announces a maximum autonomy of 504 km in WLTP cycle. We, on the dashboard, are closer to 400 km of autonomy.

And at this level, the disappointment is felt. Already because the autonomy is not particularly better than some electric cars on the market.

But also because other manufacturers, like Toyota manage to offer significantly greater ranges with a full tank of hydrogen, such as the Mirai from the Japanese manufacturer which exceeds the bar of 1000 km range with a full.

Fortunately, the process of hydrogen refueling is fast and more like filling up with gas than recharging it with electricity.

Genetically modified BMW X5

To make this system work, you first have, under the hood, a Fuel cell whose membrane is designed in partnership with Toyota. The latter feeds the electric motor borrowed from BMW iX placed on therear axle.

Finally, to bridge the power difference between the fuel cell and the electric motor, BMW employs a batterie lithium-ion placed under the boot floor.

For the rest, in terms of design, nothing changes between this hydrogen version and the X5 which serves as its base. The pencil stroke is identical apart from these touches of blue to recall the zero-emission side of the vehicle as on the Bavarian manufacturer’s i range.

On board, the same fight with an identical design in all respects. Only logos and some information on the dashboard differ in this iX5 Hydrogen. THE steering wheel paddles make it possible to adjust the degree of energy recovery.

And on the road?

Unsurprisingly, the Bavarian SUV is not a dancers. Don’t ask him to be an example of handling. And it’s not his extra pounds that will help him improve.

Now the iX5 remains an SUV that is geared towards the comfort. Comfort for its occupants but also a acoustic comfort. At this level, this iX5 Hydrogen is a step above compared to electric vehicles. There is no stray rolling noise, no aerodynamic noise and of course no vibration in the cabin…

Not immediately this iX5 Hydrogen

Let it be said, the answer is no immediately. This iX5 is more of a laboratory for developing and continuing research on hydrogen.
When we probe BMW, the manufacturer estimates that it will be necessary to wait until the second half of the decade to hope to glimpse this hydrogen SUV.

Price level, even if nothing is official or stopped, the Bavarian manufacturer believes that it wants to stick to the prices of a BMW iX with an equivalent engine. Which would bring this iX5 to around the 130 000 €.

Just for information, only two hydrogen models are currently on the market: the Toyota Mirai and the Hyundai Nexo. Two models sold around 80 000 €.

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