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BMW unveil demonstration fleet of hydrogen powered cars

After four years of development work the BMW Group has presented the media with the iX5 Hydrogen – the first vehicles in a pilot fleet that will go into service this year.

The fleet of under 100 vehicles will be distributed around the planet so tat the world’s motoring press and other ‘target groups’ can get up close and personal with it.

Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW said: ‘Hydrogen is a versatile energy source that has a key role to play in the energy transition process and therefore in climate protection. After all, it is one of the most efficient ways of storing and transporting renewable energies. We should use this potential to also accelerate the transformation of the mobility sector. Hydrogen is the missing piece in the jigsaw when it comes to emission-free mobility. One technology on its own will not be enough to enable climate-neutral mobility worldwide.’

The iX5 was first unveiled an the 2019 International Motor Show and two years later prototypes were used as shuttle vehicle for show visitors. The car has a range of 300 miles which puts it on a par with the big battery EVs but the iX5 benefits from the fact that refuelling takes little more than a couple of minutes.

The obstacle to hydrogen vehicles as a commercial venture, of course, is the lack of refuelling infrastructure. The five iX5s that are being sent to America will all be going to California, because it has 81 hydrogen stations. It’s no coincidence that California is the only place you can buy a Toyota Mirai.

That said, BMW intend to push ahead with a full launch sooner than one might have expected, speaking to Top Gear Zipswe said: ‘In this decade there will be a viable product from BMW with hydrogen. You will see that.’

The EU has ambitious targets for the distribution of hydrogen stations, with MEPs announcing at the end of last year that they wanted to see car-recharging stations every 60 km and hydrogen refuelling stations every 100 km.

Last week we reported on how JCB had been given special permission to take their hydrogen powered digger onto UK roads.

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