BMW to launch a gasoline/hydrogen 7-Series next year
Posted Mar 15th 2006 7:00AM by Stuart Waterman
Filed under: Trends, Hybrids/Alternative, Sedans/Saloons
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.
Hydrogen-power BMW 7 series will go on sale in 12 months
Automotive News / March 13, 2006 - 4:56 pm
Geneva. Pursuing a more aggressive timetable than expected, BMW wants to bring a hydrogen-fueled vehicle based on the 7 series to market in one year.
"Pre-production vehicles are already in the test phase," BMW technology chief Burkhard Goeschel told Automobilwoche at the Geneva Motor Show.
"We are expecting sales in the triple digits," Goeschel said. "If they go into quadruple digits, we will naturally be happier than ever."
BMW "naturally doesn't want to bother" its dealers with such small quantities, Goeschel said. "So sales and service will take place at our company centrally."
The carmaker isn't revealing prices.
"We aren't going after ambitious returns with this," Goeschel said. "But we do want to bring a vision onto the streets."
"Elite customers, especially in regions like California, want this kind of elite technology," he said. "The Clean Energy World Tour was demonstrating this back in 2001."
The first fleet of 15 hydrogen vehicles, in the form of BMW 750 hL models, made their global debut at EXPO 2000. The carmaker has been researching hydrogen power since the late 1970s.
Unlike the competition, the Munich-based carmaker isn't turning to fuel cells, which produce electrical energy from hydrogen. Instead, hydrogen is burned in a basically conventional internal combustion engine. Engines that can run on hydrogen and gasoline are expected to be the solution until a hydrogen infrastructure is place.
Renewable hydrogen, produced with wind power, for example, is considered the cleanest available fuel and therefore an energy source of the future.
You may e-mail Harald Hamprecht at email@example.com