• Jul 25, 2008
Note to all you celebs and journos driving around in BMW Hydrogen 7s: be careful where you go in New York and New Jersey. While taking the uber-clean car for a joyride, The New York Times was informed it was not to drive through either the Lincoln or Holland Tunnels or on the lower level of the George Washington Bridge. It seems that the Port Authority of the two states isn't thrilled with the idea of 17.5 pounds of liquid hydrogen moving about its crowded thoroughfares, fearing a disaster of Hindenburg-like proportions. It so happens that our own Alex Núñez also just had the Hydrogen7 recently, and he's provided us with a copy of the relevant bit of paperwork which the Times refers to. You can read about the Hydrogen7's visit to the AutoblogGreen Garage at our sister site on August 1.

BMW Hydrogen 7 PA RestrictionsSeriously though, BMW has done an excellent job of ensuring safety on the Hydrogen 7. There are numerous mechanical and electronic systems designed specifically to be sure that any hydrogen let loose is done so in a controlled manner. We're sure that the last thing the bosses in Munich want on their hands is the negative publicity associated with a mishap involving a celebrity, dignitary.... or innocent bystanders in the New York metropolitan area. (Or me, Jeremy -- AN)

[Source: The New York Times | Photos: Alex Núñez]


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  • 31 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      A German craft full of hydrogen on the way to New Jersey? What could go wrong?
      • 6 Years Ago
      You can't drive LPG cars through there either. No compressed explosive gasses. Perhaps years of safe operation will lead to a change in this law.
        • 6 Years Ago
        LPG (i.e. propane gas) is denser than air and will settle in a low spot (i.e. in the tunnel). Hydrogen (and CNG) are less dense and will rise and dissipate assuming there is access to ventilation. That's why CNG is considered safer than propane in confined areas (e.g. boats).
        • 6 Years Ago
        What about the old CNG Crown Vic taxis?

        Or any Crown Vic, for that matter.

        According to the press, they are ALL prone to exploding.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Oh the humanity.
      • 6 Years Ago

      Some claim that the Hindenberg was sabotaged. Do you think it might possibly be true?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Because a half million pounds of gasoline in stamped tin cans is is the epitome of safety.
        • 6 Years Ago
        gasoline just leaks unless it is ignited by an external ignition source. And how many cars leak gas? Pretty much proven.

        It also doesn't auto-ignite and burn with a clear flame. Hydrogen gas does. Has a tendency to ignite OTHER things before you even know there is an open flame.

        Plus, hydrogen containment isn't proven on that car, and hydrogen needs barely a molecular scale gap to leak past.

        I think the port authority might be over-reacting a bit, but they would be in a world of trouble if something did rupture and cause a fire or explosion in a tunnel or something.

        I do think a lot more research and trials should be done before Hydrogen is a viable mass-market energy medium.

        Not to mention the energy accounting, and handling safety issues with producing hydrogen energy for the mass market infrastructure.
        HotRodzNKustoms
        • 6 Years Ago
        Just goes to show how terribly misinformed the public is.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Please, what happens when a gas tank catches fire in a tunnel is well documented. Many people have lost their lives in such fires. If somehow the BMW sprung a leak that the monitoring systems could not take care of it would be no worse. It's not a bottle of nitroglycerin. The lighter than air gas would likely dissipate into the ventilation system of the tunnel before any sort of concentration could be reached.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Hindenburg was covered in thin cotton skin doped in butyrate and landed with a strong static charge.

        Someone hand the Port Authority a history book.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hydrogen isn't what made the Hindenburg burn. If it was it would have exploded, not burnt slowly and crash to the ground.
        FEW
        • 6 Years Ago
        Incorrect, hydrogen doesn't explode like gasoline b/c of its "buoyancy" its more of an upward explosion as the H2 rises back towards the atmosphere. But yes it did explode and yes the H2 was the fuel.
        • 6 Years Ago
        http://tinyurl.com/5zm72k - Photoshop of what the traffic authority is afraid of.

        You're completely correct frank. I wrote what I was trying to say very badly. Hydrogen was a huge amount of the burning mass and it didn't exactly fall "slowly". There was a lot that went into making that such a horrible tragedy and it wasn't just the hydrogen burning.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The initial spark and resulting small fire that ignited the Hindenburg was likely due to leaking hydrogen, but the fireball that was witnessed by all most certainly was not. Tragedy cold have been avoided if the skin had been made from something fire retardant.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Please tell me why they are working on hydrogen when algae oil makes so much more sense!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Makes perfect sense because of all the LPG buses blowing up for now reason around the country. I have an idea, let's pass more laws!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Frank, did you not catch the Mythbusters show on the Hindenburg?
      • 6 Years Ago
      KaBOOM!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Thankfully....no.
      • 6 Years Ago
      IMHO the problem with hydrogen as a fuel for cars isn't that it can't be made to work efficient or safely. Rather it's what would happen to all these cars on the road when they are say 10 years old and in 3rd or 4th ownership. i.e. when they are purchased as cheap transportation and not maintained well.... That's the reason why hydrogen can NEVER be used in cars IMHO.
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