374 hp Hydrogen-powered BMW X5 is coming next year

Do hydrogen cars have a future?

BMW is one of the few brands that still believe in fuel cell technology and next year they're going to unveil the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT, based on the 2021 X5 and built at BMW's Lightweight Construction and Technology Centre (LuTZ) in Landshut, Germany. The i Hydrogen NEXT looks just like a regular X5, except for the grille, the rear bumper, the blue wheels and the dedicated livery.

Bavaria, a semi autonomous region of Germany, has big plans for hydrogen cars, as confirmed by Hubert Aiwanger, Deputy Prime Minister, who believes that "hydrogen technology will gain traction, and I am committed to making Bavaria a high-tech location for hydrogen technology".

"This is a constructive way of responding to the climate debate," Aiwanger said. "The focus now is on building a hydrogen infrastructure at the national and international level, from production to application".

The new SUV produces 374 hp and is 'powered' by two 700-bar tanks that together hold six kilograms of hydrogen. BMW is only going to build a few models, which are mostly going to be used to showcase hydrogen technology in what they openly refer to as a "pilot programme".

The German car maker said that they need to see "significant improvements" to the infrastructure before they can actually put it into production. Furthermore, while it is true that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles only take minutes to "fill up", producing and storing hydrogen to be used as fuel is expensive and still inefficient, which is another big problem with FCEVs.

The FCEV v BEV debate has been going on for years but while several governments are doing whatever they can to push manufacturers to build battery-powered electric vehicles, they've largely been ignoring hydrogen technology and that's probably the reason why, as things stand, there are only three FCEVs available in (some) markets: the Hyundai Nexo, the Honda Clarity and the Toyora Mirai. Hopefully BMW will soon join the list.

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Comments (20)

  • In short, FCEVs are a relatively promising technology. The main good things are their high energy density, a more simple infrastructure setup than with BEVs, ICE level convenience (by that I mean refuelling time and range etc) which in the short term is superior to BEVs, lower emissions than an ICE car running on fossil fuel or a BEV and finally lightness. However, they aren't all amazing as they are still significantly polluting and more so than an ICE car on Synthetic E-Fuel, quite energy inefficient throughout the whole life of the car (about 3 times more than an ICE car but half a BEV), a lack of infrastructure and they still are in effect EVs so they aren't really that soulful to many enthusiasts. Overall I think that they deserve a place in the future as the best short term option (I know I've changed my mind a lot on this but I'm always learning new stuff that influences my opinion) as they significantly cut our emissions, make us instantly significantly more energy efficient than what we are now and the issues they face (bar emissions) are relatively easily mitigated.

      4 days ago
    • Just gotta wait for more r&d. Had to do the same with ev’s. Efficiency will go up. Good comment.

        2 days ago
    • Unfortunately you search for more efficiency is blighted by the laws of physics. These are already pretty efficient in turning hydrogen into electricity already. The inefficient bit is cracking a source of hydrogen to use in the first...

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        17 hours ago
  • Looking at news articles I read hydrogen is actually advancing more than we think. Currently there are companies experimenting on extracting green hydrogen rather than doing the traditional extraction from methane which isn't great on emissions. Also car and vehicle manufacturers are closely looking into this power source as Volvo are looking into powering trucks with hydrogen and as we know BMW and Toyota are closely working together on this technology hence why Toyota have recently launched a Corolla hydrogen powered ICE racing car as BMW would have aided them with the research on their Internal combustion engine hydrogen powered cars they built in the early 2000's.

      3 days ago
  • Fuel cell make so much more sense than the current EV set up. They prevent the long charge time and even better, with larger adoption, prevent shortages on the power grid system too.

      3 days ago
    • Issue they are currently facing is the environmentalist fun police are trying to stop it as they know the big oil companies are interested in hydrogen and because they are associated with oil they are public enemy number 1. I know...

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        2 days ago
  • WHY are almost all new cars looking like BOULDERS that have been dumped on the road? Where has design gone? Or rather, have all designers left and assembled at the next pub instead?

      4 days ago
  • Only if it's hydrogen ICE cars, it's still EV garbage

      3 days ago
    • Remember BMW made two prototype cars with hydrogen powered ICE engines and have recently shared this tech with Toyota who are partnered up with BMW to advance hydrogen technology and supply chain.

        3 days ago
    • Hydrogen ICE cars really wouldn’t work though

        3 days ago
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