BMW X5 hydrogen fuel-cell concept appears at Frankfurt Motor Show

A BMW with a hydrogen fuel cell could be on sale from 2025, the German brand says

BMW X5 hydrogen

BMW has given a glimpse into its future of alternative-fuel models with this i Hydrogen NEXT concept, unveiled at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Based on an X5 SUV, the hydrogen fuel-cell development model affirms BMW’s view that in the future various different types of zero-emissions options will exist alongside one another to give drivers more choice.

The BMW i Hydrogen NEXT concept shows that the technology can be incorporated into the brand’s existing line-up with only slight modifications required. The modified X5 has undergone an i-style makeover, with a distinctive livery that shows its hydrogen capability. There’s also a diffuser at the back, blanked-off tailpipes and blue alloy wheels.

Hydrogen fuel-cell cars are an interesting alternative to battery-electric cars, as they can be refuelled quickly, have a longer range and demand no compromise in terms of space or practicality. While the technology exists to convert cars to hydrogen, the refuelling infrastructure required is still in its infancy.

BMW and Toyota partnered in 2013 to co-develop a drive system using hydrogen fuel-cell technology. And since 2015, BMW has been testing a small fleet of prototype 5 Series GTs fitted with a Toyota fuel cell. The two brands also teamed up with a number of energy and transport companies to  set up a Hydrogen Council to push for the adoption and infrastructure of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.

BMW says that it hopes to start offering fuel cell cars to buyers by 2025 at the earliest.