BMW is making fewer than 100 iX5 Hydrogen SUVs but you won’t be able to buy one. As was the case with the V12-powered 7 Series Hydrogen projects from the 2000s, the zero-emission vehicles are part of a test fleet. These are being scattered all over the world, including in South Africa where the local BMW Group branch has joined forces with Anglo American Platinum and Sasol South Africa Limited to make it happen.
The idea behind this collaboration is to see how the iX5 Hydrogen performs in real-life tests on South Africa’s public roads. The three parties involved signed the agreement at the 2023 South African Green Hydrogen Summit in Cape Town. Sasol is going to supply the necessary hydrogen used by the iX5, which has been built using platinum group metals provided by Anglo American Platinum.
With this tie-up, the BMW Group wants to promote FCEVs in South Africa as a potential alternative to battery-powered EVs. These X5s are based on the current generation before the Life Cycle Impulse launched earlier this year. As with the gasoline, diesel, and plug-in hybrid variants, the iX5 Hydrogen is being built in South Carolina at the Spartanburg factory but the necessary modifications take place at home in Munich.
The iX5 Hydrogen has been developed over the course of four years and recently conducted hot-weather testing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It features two CFRP tanks that can hold approximately six kilograms of hydrogen for an estimated WLTP range of 313 miles (504 kilometers). Although the focus is on efficiency, it has 401 horsepower (295 kilowatts) on tap, which is enough for a 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) sprint in less than six seconds.
It goes without saying the iX5 Hydrogen is based on the CLAR platform as the regular model. Interestingly, BMW has said it’ll explore hydrogen vehicles for the upcoming Neue Klasse platform, which is primarily intended for battery EVs. High-ranked officials have promised the German luxury brand will have a FCEV on sale before 2030.