BMW, a German manufacturer with a long-standing commitment to hydrogen technology, is making significant strides in the development of its hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Recently, the company unveiled the IX5 Hydrogen, a prototype based on the electric X5 model. In an exclusive interview with Dr. Juergen Guldner, head of hydrogen at BMW, we gained insights into the brand’s hydrogen program and its vision for the future of automotive industry.
BMW’s decision to pursue fuel cell technology stems from its aim to offer a range of 500 km, a goal that couldn’t be achieved with an internal combustion hydrogen engine, which was previously tested on a 7 Series model. The fuel cell system, sourced from Toyota, coupled with hydrogen tanks and other components, enables the IX5 Hydrogen to deliver the desired range. According to Dr. Guldner, the fuel cell solution has broader applications, including car racing and trucking industries, where extended range is crucial.
Interestingly, BMW sees the hydrogen vehicle as an extension of its electric vehicle lineup, rather than a competitor. The company plans to leverage its existing electric vehicle platform and the upcoming Neue Klasse electrical and electronic architecture to integrate common components with hydrogen models. This strategy allows BMW to capitalize on synergies between the two technologies and cater to different usage scenarios.
Looking ahead, Dr. Guldner believes that in the next 5 to 10 years, traditional combustion engines will diminish, particularly in Europe, making way for the widespread adoption of electric motors. This transition represents an exciting time for the automotive industry, with hydrogen and battery-electric vehicles coexisting and driving innovation.
BMW’s foray into hydrogen technology with the IX5 Hydrogen marks a significant milestone in the company’s hydrogen program. By combining the advantages of fuel cell technology with their electric vehicle expertise, BMW is poised to contribute to the advancement of sustainable mobility and shape the future of the automotive industry.