• Sep 12th 2006 at 9:58AM
  • 28
Closely following a sighting of a Hydrogen-powered 7 series during testing, BMW officially announced the Hydrogen 7 today. The car is touted as the first hydrogen-drive luxury performance automobile for everyday use. The BMW Hydrogen 7 will be built in a limited series, and sold to select customers in the U.S. and overseas in 2007. The engine in the Hydrogen 7, a derivative of the 7 series 12 cylinder engine, is capable of running on gasoline or hydrogen, and produces 260 hp. The car will accelerate from 0 to 62.1 mpg in 9.5 seconds. The ability to run on both gasoline and hydrogen gives the Hydrogen 7 a range of more than 400 miles. The high tech hydrogen storage tank has a capacity of approximately 17.6 lb of liquid hydrogen, giving the Hydrogen 7 a cruising range in hydrogen mode upwards of 125 miles. The gasoline mode accounts for an additional 300 miles of cruising range. The driver is the one who decides which fuel to use, with a smooth transition between both operating modes, since the engine power and torque remain identical regardless of the fuel used.

[Source: BMW, full press release after the jump. Also, see more pictures of the Hydrogen 7 here]
Munich/Los Angeles, CA - September 12, 2006... BMW today announced the introduction of the new BMW Hydrogen 7, the world's first hydrogen-drive luxury performance automobile for everyday use. The car - a vehicle that has undergone the regular Product Development Process - will be built in a limited series and deployed to selected users in the U.S. and other countries in 2007. It is equipped with an internal combustion engine capable of running either on hydrogen or on gasoline and based on the BMW 7 Series.

Hydrogen technology dramatically reduces emissions generated by personal transport and, in particular, minimizes the emission of CO2. Running in the hydrogen mode, the BMW Hydrogen 7 essentially emits nothing but vapor. And, unlike fossil fuels and traditional gasoline, hydrogen is available in virtually infinite supply. With the BMW Hydrogen 7, the BMW Group is laying down a marker for sustainable mobility. This car will play a pioneering role in driving forward hydrogen technologies. BMW has gained an excellent reputation for significantly reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by using ultra efficient, yet very dynamic gasoline engines. Together with clean performance diesel cars and the technologically advanced hybrid systems currently under development within the BMW EfficientDynamics project, the BMW Group has a clear strategy for sustainable mobility with hydrogen as the ultimate solution.

With all the comforts and amenities of a non-hydrogen BMW 7 Series, the BMW Hydrogen 7 is powered by a 260 hp twelve-cylinder engine and accelerates from 0-62.1 mph in 9.5 seconds. Top speed is limited electronically to 143 mph. The BMW Hydrogen 7 also features a dual-mode power unit - controlled at the touch of a button - that can switch quickly and conveniently from hydrogen to conventional premium gasoline.

The car's dual-mode drive provides an overall cruising range of more than 400 miles and enables the driver of a BMW Hydrogen 7 to enjoy virtually unlimited mobility, even when far away from the nearest hydrogen filling station. This technology is a viable solution until the hydrogen infrastructure is fully developed.

BMW CleanEnergy: paving the way into the future.

The BMW Hydrogen 7 perfectly captures the essence of the BMW CleanEnergy strategy. By using hydrogen produced from water and renewable energy, such as wind, sun or hydropower, in an internal combustion engine, the car's emissions are essentially nothing but vapor. And, with this emitted water vapor, the cycle can start again and the dream of sustainable mobility without using fossil fuel resources and without impacting the earth's climate can become a reality. The complete change from a fossil fuel infrastructure to a hydrogen economy will require decades, but with the Hydrogen 7, BMW shows that bringing hydrogen technology to the road is indeed feasible.

BMW Hydrogen 7: Industrializing hydrogen technologies.

The BMW Hydrogen 7 has successfully completed the entire Product Development Process (PDP) obligatory for all new BMWs. In this process, all components of the new technology were integrated into the overall vehicle according to the same challenging criteria applied to "regular" production cars. The BMW Hydrogen 7 is not a hand made concept car, but rather, a milestone in industrializing hydrogen technologies for automotive use.

The knowledge gained in the PDP has not only made a decisive contribution to the everyday driving qualities of the BMW Hydrogen 7, but it will also significantly impact the development and production of future hydrogen car concepts, with the principle of dual-mode drive and the features of other components now going through the strict test of everyday driving practice.

Dual-mode combustion engine for enhanced flexibility.

While cruising range is a significant consideration to consumers in any car, BMW recognizes that it is of critical importance in a hydrogen-powered vehicle, because there is not yet a full network of hydrogen filling stations in the United States.

For precisely this reason, the BMW Hydrogen 7 features dual-mode drive technology and a combustion engine capable of running on both hydrogen and gasoline. The cruising range in the hydrogen mode is more than 125 miles, with another 300 miles in the gasoline mode. Thus, the driver of a BMW Hydrogen 7 is able to use the vehicle without problem even when the nearest hydrogen filling station is far away.

The BMW Hydrogen 7 clearly proves that liquid hydrogen may by all means be used as a source of energy for the production car. By introducing the BMW Hydrogen 7, the BMW Group establishes powerful momentum for the ongoing development of a supply infrastructure serving above all to set up additional hydrogen filling stations providing sustained mobility on a broad basis also in the future.

Two tanks: Smooth transitions and maximum cruise range.

To offer the longest conceivable cruising range, the BMW Hydrogen 7 comes with both a conventional 74-litre (16.3 Imp gal) gasoline tank and an additional fuel tank taking up approximately 8 kilos or 17.6 lb of liquid hydrogen. Stored in a high tech tank, liquid hydrogen offers significant advantages in energy density enhancing the cruising range of the hydrogen car.

The driver is able to switch from hydrogen to gasoline mode manually by pressing a button on the multifunction steering wheel. Because engine power and torque remain exactly the same regardless of the mode of operation, switching from one mode to another has no effect on the driving behavior and performance of the BMW Hydrogen 7.

The control system in BMW Hydrogen 7 gives priority to the use of hydrogen. And, should one of the two types of fuel be fully consumed, the system will automatically switch over to the other type of fuel in the interest of secure, ongoing supply.

Luxury class comfort for four.

The BMW Hydrogen 7 is a four-seater with the two passengers at the rear enjoying the same high standard of comfort in the world's first hydrogen car developed for everyday use as in one of BMW's "regular" luxury performance vehicles.

The BMW Hydrogen 7 comes with an unusually wide range of standard features. In addition to the high level of equipment featured from the start in the BMW 760i, the BMW Hydrogen 7 comes inter alia with climate comfort composite glazing, BMW's high-end automatic air conditioning, auxiliary heating, electric seat heating for the driver, front passenger and rear seats, lumbar supports, electric seat adjustment with memory function on the front seats, ISOFIX child seat fastenings, Park Distance Control, a rain sensor, exterior and interior mirrors with automatic anti-dazzle, Soft Close Automatic for the doors and a headlight assistant. A complete entertainment and communication package adds to the comfort a BMW 7 Series can provide.

Progress without compromises.

BMW Hydrogen 7 emphatically proves that changing over to an alternative form of energy doesn't mean missing out on superior driving dynamics and comfort. The departure from fossil fuel does not in any way mean giving up the dynamics and performance typical of a BMW. Mobility of tomorrow and driving pleasure of today are compatible, with the drive concept of BMW Hydrogen 7 being directly transferable to future models. Driving a car of this caliber will be just as thrilling in the future as it is today, but at the same time cleaner than ever before.

BMW Group: "Sustainability. It can be done."

Sustainable action and corporate success belong together. With this clear commitment, the BMW Group has integrated sustainability as part of its corporate strategy for many years and takes responsibility for its products throughout their entire life cycle - from production to end-of-life recycling. The BMW CleanEnergy strategy aims to create a sustainable future for individual mobility independent of fossil fuels. With BMW EfficientDynamics, the company enhances fuel economy with every new product while still offering the customer the best in class performance.

With recycling-optimized product design and life cycle assessment, BMW reduces the impact on the environment. The use of benchmark technologies in its clean production program significantly reduces the consumption of water and energy during the production process. There are many examples of the advantages of adhering to BMW's mantra, "Sustainability. It can be done." The benefits are enjoyed by not only the company and its associates, but also the environment and, most importantly, the customer. To learn more about BMW Group and sustainability, please visit www.bmwgroup.com/sustainability.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      This is very nice . One problem ,where are you going to get the hydogen ? To split the H2 from oxygen in water by electrolysis requires 56.3 kilowatts for each liter of H2 because the process is only 70% efficient . This could be obained from burning coal , which is 40% efficient So 140.8 Kw would be required for each liter . Most H2 is made by "reforming" natural gas this is only 30% efficient and it would be better to burn the gas in a generating plant. Plus energy is required to compress the H2 to a useable volume or liquify it. Liquefying, which BMW advocates,costs over 40% of hydrogen's energy content. Sounds great doesn't it ? See Car and Driver 10/05 pg 30 for details
      • 9 Years Ago
      I am surprised at the negative comments. I have always considered Hydrogen power the "holy grail" (no fuel cells please) as long as the hydrogen is extracted by a "green" technology. i.e solar, wind, hydro, thermal, etc.
      No pollution. Sounds good to me.
      Diesel pollutes like most other internal combustion engines, just a different mix of gases.
      As for the hazardous part I have never understood this. Hydrogen always seemed less hazardous than gasoline to me. No splashing flamable liquids. More of a fast rising ball of flame. The people in the Hindenburg that were burned were injured by the diesel fuel burning not by the hydrogen.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I agree with the biodiesel comments. The funny thing is BMW arguably makes the world's best diesel engines. The BMW 730d is rated ~37mpg (US gallons) on the highway (ala extra-urban) and 216 g/km for CO2.

      Of course, CARB prohibts the sale of a 730d!
      • 9 Years Ago
      the MAZDA Rx-8 was configured to run on hydrogen quite easily because of the rotary engine. Like 2 years ago. No cells.
      • 9 Years Ago
      the biodiesel comments are short sited. 6.5 Billion people on spaceship Earth and growing. Burning food for fuel. hmmm.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I also agree that hydrogen power is THE way to go. Even if fuels (be it H2, gas, or diesel) are processed/refined by fossil fuels, it's much easier to scrub out pollutants at a refinery (where size, weight, and complexity don't matter) than it is in every single vehicle that needs to be light and compact overall. Pollution becomes further reduced if we push ahead with solar and wind sources...easily converting into electricity, which then can split water into H2 and O2. Where's the smog in that?

      The only concern I have is hydrogen embrittlement of the engine metal. Did BWM find better alloys which resist becoming brittle when in contact with combusting hydrogen? That was their problem back in 1994.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Hydrogen is readily found as a component of water. To make the BMW 7 concept available to users in an affordable manner, we need to find a method or catalyst to convert H2O into its components.

      Congratulations to BMW for engineering a car concept that seems to make sense.
      • 9 Years Ago
      If the hydrogen is produced by electricity generated by hydro-electric power then the hydrogen engine is indeed "green" because the car then runs indirectly on solar power, and because CO2 is not produced, just water vapour out of the exhaust, returning the amount of water use to produce the hydrogren. However, hydroelectric power generation is limited and damages the planet because of the dams and flooding. A better, sustainable source of power would be by blowing membrane mirror bubbles in Space then coating them and dividing them and using them to concentrate sunlight on power generators which would then beam the electric power down to Earth. The vacuum of space is ideal for electricity generation because there is no air convection of heat between the hot and cold parts of the generators, thus allowing a very large difference in temperature thus an exceptionally efficient Carnot cycle.
      • 9 Years Ago
      First off, I'm not convinced that hydrogen is the way of the future as it is just not an efficient energy conduit.

      That said, I'm curious how the hydrogen only mode fuel mileage on this car compares to the mileage on a fuel cell car. Have the auto makers been throwing away billions on fuel cells when the old internal combustion engine could have been modified for hydrogen use just as efficiently? I find it an amusing prospect.

      That said, I think the real hope lies with electric or plug in hybrid vehicles. The technology in the Tesla roadster is the future, at least for city use. Even for highway use, if it can be modified as a plug in hybrid with a very high efficiency diesel engine running bio-diesel, that will be far more practical than hydrogen.

      I know biofuels aren't exactly all that efficient either, but electric cars will not take you on a cross country trip. Getting over 100 mpg in a plug in hybrid though might tip the energy efficiency balance of biofuels (from field to wheel) towards making a bit more sense.
      • 9 Years Ago
      "the biodiesel comments are short sited. 6.5 Billion people on spaceship Earth and growing. Burning food for fuel. hmmm."
      You are right! using food to produce biodiesel will make food more expensive.
      • 9 Years Ago
      "from 0 to 62.1 mpg in 9.5 seconds" hmmm interesting units...
      • 9 Years Ago
      There are so many things wrong with this, it's hard to decide where to begin.

      Hydrogen is NOT 'green' in any meaningful sense of the word. The primary source for commercial hydrogen production is conversion of a FOSSIL FUEL, namely natural gas. Nor is it economical. It is substantially more hazardous -- more risk for less benefit than almost any other alternative. There are more hydrogen atoms in a gallon of biodiesel than in a gallon of liquid hydrogen, and biodiesel is much easier to deal with.

      There is no scenario in which hydrogen is used to power an automobile that would not be made safer, simpler, more efficient, and more economical by just leaving out the hydrogen part, and using whatever source of energy you are using to produce the hydrogen directly in the car.
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