A limited production run of the 2023 BMW X5 will be fitted with a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain from late 2022, badged as the BMW i Hydrogen Next – but it won't be available to the public just yet.
The hydrogen X5 will use two carbon-fibre reinforced tanks with a total capacity of 6kg. The fuel cell converts the hydrogen into electricity, which will power an electric motor mounted to the rear axle of the BMW SUV.
A total of 275kW is on offer, aided by a high-voltage battery which provides additional electrical performance when demanded by the driver.
BMW says the vehicle will "guarantee extensive range in all weather conditions" – referring to the fact that battery-powered vehicles can lose anywhere between 20 to 50 per cent of their driving range in colder temperatures – while refuelling with hydrogen takes less than four minutes.
First revealed in 2019, the hydrogen fuel cell technology was developed as part of a joint collaboration between BMW and Toyota, signed in 2013. Toyota recently began offering a small number of hydrogen-powered Mirai models for lease in Australia.
The BMW i Hydrogen Next will enter a small 'pilot' production in late 2022, but the company says further commitment from governments is necessary before it becomes viable to offer a hydrogen-powered model to the public.
"Further commitment is necessary," the car maker said, "particularly with regard to the hydrogen filling infrastructure and requirements throughout the entire energy system, where green hydrogen must be available in sufficient quantities and produced at competitive prices for individual mobility."
BMW expects to begin offering hydrogen-powered models to the public in the second half of this decade.