BMW X5 powered by hydrogen will be available to a limited number of customer in two years.

BMW WILL produce a hydrogen-powered version of the X5 in limited availability in 2022.

Revealing its BMW i Hydrogen NEXT overnight, the model will underpin the German carmaker’s move into hydrogen vehicles, with the brand suggesting it will go on to also produce hydro X6 and X7 models.

“The hydrogen fuel cell technology could quite feasibly become the fourth pillar of our powertrain portfolio in the long term. The upper-end models in our extremely popular X family would make particularly more suitable candidates here,” said BMW board member Klaus Frohlich.

The X5 version will utilise learnings from BMW’s hydrogen development partnership with Toyota, adopting a BMW-built system consisting of two 700 bar hydrogen tanks with 6kg capacity. The fuel cells can hold 125kW which is output to BMW’s 275kW eDrive electric motor, and the only emissions from the tailpipe are water vapours.

Driving range is ‘more than 440km’ and refuelling takes just 3-4 minutes – much quicker than an electric vehicle currently requires for that sort of range. However, the hold up which would see proliferation of hydrogen vehicles is that there’s not much in the way of supporting infrastructure. Hyundai Australia and Toyota’s local arm have both been testing hydrogen vehicles here (and Hyundai has provided a small fleet to the government in Canberra), but a lack of refuelling stations limits growth.

BMW’s hydrogen version of the X5 will be produced in 2022 in limited numbers. If all goes well, BMW expects it will expand its consumer offering.

“A customer offer powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology will be brought to market at the earliest in the second half of this decade by the BMW Group, depending on the global market conditions and requirements.”

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