BMW has inaugurated fuel cell system production at the company’s competence centre for #hydrogen in Munich on 31 August. The reason for this occasion is the small series of BMW iX5 Hydrogen cars that will be entering service around the world from the end of this year for test and demonstration purposes. The combination of #fuel cell and high-performance battery is set to enrich the company’s portfolio by adding a unique form of drive system for the premium segment. The BMW Group is playing a visionary and pioneering role in this technology with the aim of achieving a more diversified transition to zero-emission mobility.The BMW Group will now be manufacturing highly efficient fuel cell systems at its in-house competence centre for hydrogen. This technology is one of the core elements in the BMW iX5 Hydrogen and generates a high continuous output of 125 kW/170 hp. It teams up with an electric motor featuring fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology and a high-performance battery purpose developed for this vehicle to enable its powertrain to deliver 275 kW/374 hp. The development team incorporated the powerful drive system – comprising two hydrogen tanks, the fuel cell and the electric motor – into the existing #BMW X5 platform for the small production run. The BMW iX5 Hydrogen already successfully demonstrated its excellent everyday usability, even at very low temperatures, during the final round of winter testing in Sweden at the start of this year.BMW Group sources the individual fuel cells required for manufacturing the BMW iX5 Hydrogen from the Toyota Motor. The two companies have enjoyed a partnership characterised by trust for many years and have been collaborating on fuel cell drive systems since 2013. Fuel cell systems are manufactured in two main steps. The individual fuel cells are first assembled into a fuel cell stack. The next step involves fitting all the other components to produce a complete fuel cell system.Stacking of the fuel cells is a fully automated process. Once the individual components have been inspected for any damage, the stack is compressed by machine with a force of five tonnes and placed in housing. The stack housing is manufactured in the light metal foundry at BMW Group Plant Landshut using a sand casting technique. For this, molten aluminium is poured into a mould made from compacted sand mixed with resin in a process specially designed for this small-series vehicle. The pressure plate, which delivers hydrogen and oxygen to the fuel cell stack, is made from cast plastic parts and light-alloy castings, also from the Landshut plant. The pressure plate forms a gas-tight and water-tight seal around the stack housing.Final assembly of the #fuel cell stacks includes a voltage test along with extensive testing of the chemical reaction within the cells. Finally, all the different components are fitted together in the assembly area to produce the complete system. During this system assembly stage, further components are fitted, such as the compressor, the anode and cathode, the high-voltage coolant pump and the wiring harness.