As the rest of the automotive world is busy developing battery-powered vehicles for the future, a certain German carmaker is testing hydrogen for propulsion near the Arctic Circle.

BMW is doing an extensive program at their northern Sweden winter testing center using the iX5 hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle. They are making sure that the SUV's fuel cell system, hydrogen tanks, peak power battery, and central vehicle control unit can provide CO2-free mobility even in extreme sub-zero temperatures.

BMW iX5 Hydrogen go below-zero for final testing image

The iX5 Hydrogen uses BMW's fifth-generation e-Drive electric motor. However, unlike other zero-emission vehicles that use battery power, the SUV's energy source is provided by two 700-bar tanks made from carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP), which feeds the fuel cell that converts hydrogen to electricity.

Because of this, the rear-mounted electric motor puts out up to 374 HP while only emitting harmless water vapor. The waste heat is then recovered and harnessed to warm the iX5's interior.

“The winter testing under extreme conditions clearly shows that the BMW iX5 Hydrogen can also deliver full performance in temperatures of -20°C and therefore represents a viable alternative to a vehicle powered by a battery-electric drive system,” says Frank Weber, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development.

BMW iX5 Hydrogen go below-zero for final testing image

BMW has already confirmed that the iX5 Hydrogen will go into small series production later in the year, and also committed themselves to help expand the network of hydrogen fueling stations.

Weber added, “For us to be able to offer our customers a fuel cell drive system as an attractive sustainable mobility solution, a sufficiently extensive hydrogen infrastructure also needs to be in place.”