The BMW Hydrogen 7 - The World's First Hydrogen Powered Luxury Car

  • The world's first hydrogen-powered, emission-free, luxury car

BMW has announced the start of production of the new BMW Hydrogen 7, the world's first hydrogen-powered luxury saloon car. Destined to make its first public appearance on 28 November at the Los Angeles Motor Show, the Hydrogen 7 will be built in limited numbers and offered to selected users in 2007.

The BMW Hydrogen 7 is based on the existing 7 Series and comes equipped with an internal combustion engine capable of running on liquid hydrogen or petrol. In hydrogen mode the car emits nothing more than water vapour. Powered by a 260hp 12-cylinder engine, the Hydrogen 7 accelerates from zero to 62mph in 9.5 seconds before going on to an electronically limited 143mph top speed.

With its unique dual power engine, the driver of a Hydrogen 7 can switch quickly and conveniently from hydrogen to conventional petrol power at the press of a steering wheel-mounted button. The dual power technology means the car has a cruising range in excess of 125 miles in the hydrogen mode with a further 300 miles under petrol power. To make this possible the BMW Hydrogen 7 comes with a conventional 74-litre petrol tank and an additional hydrogen fuel tank holding up to 8kgs of liquid hydrogen. Such flexibility means the driver of a BMW Hydrogen 7 is able to use the vehicle at all times, even when the nearest hydrogen filling station is out of range.

For undiluted driver enjoyment, engine power and torque in the Hydrogen 7 remain exactly the same regardless of which fuel is in current use. The driver can switch between the two without any effect on driving behaviour or performance. The car always gives priority to the use of hydrogen but, should this run out, it automatically switches to petrol power.

Unlike many previous hydrogen concept cars showcased by rival manufacturers the BMW Hydrogen 7 heralds a milestone in the history of the car. It is a full production ready vehicle, which has met all the stringent processes and final sign-off criteria that every current BMW model undergoes. A total of 100 BMW Hydrogen 7s will be built in 2007. Details on pricing and the destinations of the 100 cars will be announced at a later date.

Why hydrogen?

The BMW Group has been committed to hydrogen technology as a means of reducing car emissions, in particular CO 2 emissions, for over 20 years. When running in the hydrogen mode, the BMW Hydrogen 7 essentially emits nothing but water vapour. And, unlike fossil fuels and traditional petrol, hydrogen is available in virtually infinite supply when renewable energies such as solar, wind and wave power are used to produce the liquid hydrogen. Stored in a hi-tech tank which keeps the fuel at a pressure of 3-5 bar and a consistent temperature of -250°C, liquid hydrogen offers significant advantages in energy density compared to other possible alternative fuel sources to enhance the cruising range of the car.

BMW continues to develop ultra efficient, yet very dynamic petrol engines that significantly reduce fuel consumption and CO 2 emissions. Together with clean performance diesel cars and the technologically advanced hybrid systems currently under development, the BMW Group has a clear strategy for sustainable mobility with hydrogen as the ultimate goal.

Sales success
News of the BMW Hydrogen 7 comes as sales of the 'standard' 7 Series continue to grow. Year-to-date figures to the end of September show a 44 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2005, with 1,969 7 Series being delivered to customers. Full year sales for 2005 were 2,017, itself a 40 per cent increase on 2004.

Published 15 November 2006 Melanie Carter
 

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