BERLIN, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- German carmaker BMW on Wednesday started the in-house production of fuel cell systems for its hydrogen-powered ix5 sport utility vehicle (SUV), which is to be rolled out worldwide for testing and demonstration purposes from the end of this year.
The car combines hydrogen technology with an electric drive and a high-performance battery. The combination is "adding a unique form of drive system for the premium segment," according to BMW.
"As a versatile energy source, hydrogen has a key role to play on the road to climate neutrality. And it will also gain substantially in importance as far as personal mobility is concerned," Oliver Zipse, chief executive officer (CEO) of BMW AG, said at a press conference.
BMW has been working on hydrogen drive technology with fuel cells since 2015. Previously, the carmaker had already tested hydrogen combustion engines, which were deemed less effective in the end.
At its hydrogen competence center in the Bavarian capital of Munich, BMW is stacking the individual fuel cells from Toyota with other components to form a complete fuel cell system.
The BMW fuel cell system alone has an output of 125 kilowatts (kW) or 170 hp (horsepower). Together with the electric motor and a power battery developed for the hydrogen car, the powertrain can deliver 275 kW/374 hp.
The state of Bavaria will invest 500 million euros (500 million U.S. dollars) in hydrogen technology with a research center and hydrogen filling stations, Minister President Markus Soeder said at the press conference. "Hydrogen has a future and Bavaria is a leader in electromobility."
However, the federal government should also support the development of the technology, Soeder said. "There is an urgent need for hydrogen networks in the south from the federal government as well." ■