BMW i Hydrogen NEXT SUV will have 369bhp

Based on the BMW X5, the i Hydrogen NEXT will have a small production run in 2022

  • BMW set to launch hydrogen-powered SUV in the next couple of years
  • i Hydrogen NEXT to have total output of 369bhp
  • BMW will sell 12 electric models by 2023

BMW has revealed more details about its upcoming hydrogen car. Called the i Hydrogen NEXT for the time being, it’ll be heavily based on the BMW X5. BMW, in conjunction with Toyota, is developing hydrogen fuel-cell technology as an alternative to battery-electric cars.

The fuel-cell system will produce 168bhp, with the whole powertrain producing 369bhp. Acceleration figures have yet to be released but we’d expect the car to be within touching distance of the entry-level diesel X5, which manages 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds. The fifth-generation eDrive unit from the upcoming BMW iX3 will be fitted. BMW says the 6kg hydrogen tank can be refilled in “three to four minutes”, with a long range regardless of weather conditions.

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Klaus Fröhlich, BMW board member, says that it’s worth the company developing both electric and hydrogen cars: “We are convinced that various alternative powertrain systems will exist alongside one another in future, as there is no single solution that addresses the full spectrum of customers’ mobility requirements worldwide. The upper-end models in our extremely popular X [SUV] family would make particularly suitable candidates here.”

BMW i Hydrogen NEXT SUV - Rear 3/4 view

The i Hydrogen NEXT looks very similar to the BMW X5 SUV, with a few touches to mark it out as an alternatively fuelled vehicle. There are blue highlights in the grilles and in the lightweight alloy wheels, and the rear diffuser has blanked out panels where the exhausts would be in a petrol or diesel car. The car is painted in mineral white with a striking blue livery that is unlikely to feature on the production version.

The only hydrogen cars currently available (the Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo) manage 0-62mph in around nine seconds but we expect the i Hydrogen NEXT to become the quickest hydrogen car available.

A few examples of the car will be released in 2022 but we expect these will mainly be aimed at inner-city company-car fleets. BMW is aiming to sell hydrogen-powered cars to customers from 2025 but this depends on the car’s development and whether there’s enough infrastructure to make a hydrogen fuel-cell car viable.

The brand is eyeing up hydrogen as an alternative to electric power as it offers similar characteristics to petrol and diesel fuel. Refuelling takes just a few minutes, hydrogen cars are suitable for towing, and they aren’t affected by climate and weather as much as electric cars. As part of BMW’s plan to move to clean-fuel cars, you can expect a range of electric and plug-in hybrid models alongside a hydrogen-powered vehicle.

BMW has been working with Toyota since 2013 to develop hydrogen fuel-cell cars.

Read about the new BMW Concept 4, also shown at the same time, or read about the electric iX3 SUV.

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