Coming to market late next year.
BMW first announced its intentions to bring a production hydrogen-powered vehicle to the market in September 2019 when we saw the first photos of the so-called BMW i Hydrogen NEXT. At the time, the hydrogen X5 was in the very early stages of its development but now it’s finally ready to hit the streets in the first public road tests.
The Bavarian brand says a fleet of near-production vehicles is embarking on public road evaluations in everyday conditions around Europe. The engineers and test pilots of the automaker will study the performance of the fuel-cell powertrain, the model-specific chassis technology, and the vehicle electronics systems. The testing program should prepare the i Hydrogen NEXT for a small-series production run scheduled for late 2022.
We can’t help but notice that BMW is obviously not seeing hydrogen power as the future of mobility. In its latest press release, the manufacturer explains the fuel-cell systems could supplement combustion engines, PHEVs, and fully-electric vehicles, though it seems that not even BMW wants to develop them as anything more than “an attractive alternative” to battery-powered electric cars.
“Hydrogen fuel cell technology can be an attractive option for sustainable drivetrains – especially in larger vehicle classes,” Frank Weber, a member of BMW’s Board of Management for Development, comments. “That is why road testing of near-standard vehicles with a hydrogen fuel cell drivetrain is an important milestone in our research and development efforts.” For the full story, check out this article from Motor 1.