For a model you can’t actually buy, the iX5 Hydrogen has certainly been getting a lot of attention. That’s because BMW strongly believes there are more ways to skin a cat when it comes to zero-emission mobility. While it’s heavily investing in battery-powered EVs coming on the Neue Klasse platform from 2025, the German luxury brand remains committed to hydrogen fuel cell technology.
Launched back in February, the BMW iX5 Hydrogen fleet has recently completed hot-weather testing in the United Arab Emirates. Despite temperatures reaching 45°C (113°F) and having to tackle sand, dust, as well as varying gradients, the electric SUV performed flawlessly. From the fuel cell system itself to the electric motor and pair of hydrogen tanks, the hardware worked as advertised while the development team flown in from Munich analyzed all the relevant parameters.
The Middle East is not the only place where BMW is testing the iX5 Hydrogen as other prototypes are currently being evaluated in Japan, China, South Korea, Europe, and the United States. There are no plans to put the electric SUV into production but high-ranked officials from the company have pledged to roll out a hydrogen vehicle – likely an SUV – before the end of the decade.
As a refresher, the iX5 Hydrogen has a combined output of 401 horsepower (295 kilowatts) and boasts two CFRP tanks that can hold approximately six kilograms. That translates to a maximum driving range of 313 miles (504 kilometers) in the WLTP cycle, which is roughly the same as a combustion-engined vehicle. It only takes 3-5 minutes to refill the hydrogen tanks, so once again, much like an ICE car.
Despite an emphasis on efficiency, BMW mentions the iX5 Hydrogen is no slouch since it does 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in less than 6 seconds. It even has a dedicated Sport mode that stiffens up the suspension and unlocks the full power.
It’s highly unlikely you’ll ever see one on the road since fewer than 100 examples are being built. They’re all being made in Spartanburg where the regular BMW X5 comes to life but the necessary changes are carried out at home in Munich.