BMW has started production of its new iX5 Hydrogen model, which it says is the first Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) featuring hydrogen fuel cell technology.
The German car maker will use the iX5 as a technology demonstrator for carbon-free mobility in selected regions from spring 2023, including the Middle East.
“Hydrogen is a versatile energy source that has a key role to play as we progress towards climate neutrality,” said Frank Weber, a member of BMW's board of management responsible for development.
“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.”
He highlighted that as the fuel cells don’t require any critical raw materials such as cobalt, lithium or nickel either, investing in this type of drive system was “strengthening the geopolitical resilience of the BMW Group”.
The BMW iX5 Hydrogen is being built at the car maker's research and innovation centre at its pilot plant in Munich, where every new model from one of the company’s brands is made for the first time.
Positioned in the rear axle area together with the high-performance battery, the electric motor is a product of the current, fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology also employed in battery electric and plug-in hybrid models from car maker.
The fuel cell systems located under the bonnet of the BMW iX5 Hydrogen have been manufactured at BMW’s in-house competence centre for hydrogen in Garching, to the north of Munich, since August this year.
SAVs have a greater focus on their work capabilities than SUVs. They have strong towing ability and space for outdoor equipment with adventure in mind.
New modes of zero-emissions transport and innovation to support alternative fuels have proliferated over the past decade as efforts towards energy transition accelerate.
Electric car sales for the first half of 2022 reached more than 3.5 million, IDTechEx research has shown.
In August, BMW announced it had started testing a concept vehicle. The company is seeking solutions for fully electric high-performance cars in the future.
In the Middle East, clean and renewable energy is a strategic priority for the UAE, with the country aiming to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
As part of its push into new energy sources, the Emirates is also seeking to capture about 25 per cent of the global hydrogen market.