• Mar 15th 2006 at 7:00AM
  • 3
According to Automotive News, BMW will launch a hydrogen-fueled 7-Series next year. The limited production vehicle will be the latest hydrogen effort by the German automaker, which has been experimenting with hydrogen power since the late '70s. Unlike other automakers focusing on hydrogen fuel cells to harness hydrogen for automotive powertrains, BMW is putting considerable effort into hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engines, as a practical transition step while a better hydrogen distribution infrastructure is developed.

BMW is exhibiting a "bi-fueled" (hydrogen and gasoline) internal combustion engine this week at the 2006 Hydrogen Expo U.S. in California, along with an in-vehicle liquid hydrogen storage system. BMW claims 230 hp from its bi-fueled engine, with more power to come as the design is optimized. The 6-liter V12 used in BMW's hydrogen-fueled H2R land speed record car (pictured) developed about 285 hp.

The other critical element of the bi-fuel powertrain is on-board hydrogen storage. Liquid hydrogen is the most efficient form of the fuel, with the highest energy density, but it demands a storage system capable of maintaining temperatures at a frosty -253 deg C. BMW's high-tech "thermos bottle" solution uses multiple layers of synthetic foil under a high vacuum.

[Sources: BMW, Automotive News]

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      Thats awesome. Market the car as the 760Lhi or 760Lh. Package it with a home hydrogen system that makes liquid h2 from either natural gas or grid power (although customers would only use grid power if they have access to something like wind or nuclear). Skim the market at $250,000, I gurantee enough wealthy people would buy it so that they could be cleaner than a prius with the style of a 7-er.

      For everyday driving, owners would be able to run off the hydrogen they make at home. For longer trips, they would still have no problem using the car.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I can imagine a lot of explosions and/or fires at hydrogen filling stations. The bulk of the population is pretty stupid. Something like this could cause a disaster:


      The best solution would be on-the-fly hydrogen generation. Using the water/zinc technique described at the link below, the only problem would be generating the heat for the process to take place on-board the vehicle. This could be extracted from the engine exhaust. A battery powered heater could provide heat temporarily until the engine warmed up. This approach would mean we would fill up our cars with water and zinc powder. No dangerous filling stations. No high-pressure tanks in the car. And virtually no infrastucture to build except for the zinc powder production facilities which are powered by the sun and do not pollute.

      • 9 Years Ago
      Haha... A 230hp 7-series, and it probably costs 1/4 of that just to keep the hydrogen that cold... Will it even move? Yes, something for A-Rod to waste his quarter billion on.