The idea of a hydrogen-fueled BMW might seem like a novelty to some, but diehard fans of the brand will probably remember the bonkers H2R concept equipped with a V12 engine that set nine world records in the first half of the previous decade. Several years later, a limited-run Hydrogen 7 was launched based on the company’s flagship model in the 760Li guise with the mighty V12.
In 2013, the Bavarians inked a deal with Toyota to jointly work on hydrogen fuel cell technology, and the two started testing a small batch of 5 Series GT hydrogen vehicles in 2015. The same year, BMW unveiled an i8 hydrogen fuel cell research vehicle and admitted those patent images depicting a peculiar concept belonged to another hydrogen research vehicle.
In 2018, BMW revealed plans to continue development of a new road-going hydrogen car, and now the German premium marque is reiterating its plans for a fuel cell vehicle you’ll (maybe) one day be able to buy by showing the i Hydrogen NEXT. Based on the latest-generation X5, the electric SUV feeding on hydrogen looks almost the same as the conventionally powered model, but there are some obvious blue accents on the body and wheels.
The lack of a visible exhaust at the back where there are now blanked-off blue panels denotes the concept doesn’t have an internal combustion engine.
BMW is not offering any details about the technical specifications, but we do know the i Hydrogen NEXT will morph into an electric fuel cell road-going model in 2022 with refueling times of under four minutes and a generous range between them.
However, just like it was the case with the aforementioned Hydrogen 7, production will be extremely limited. If everything goes according to plan, a series production hydrogen fuel cell vehicle will be launched in 2025 at the earliest, provided there’s going to be enough demand for it and the necessary infrastructure.