The BMW Hydrogen 7 takes to the streets

Following its launch at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, a fleet of three BMW Hydrogen 7s will, tomorrow (5 June 2007), take part in the Revolve Brighton to London rally for low and zero-emission cars. Starting on Madeira Drive in Brighton, the fleet of Hydrogen 7s will follow a pre-planned route ending at Trafalgar Square in London.

During the course of the event, HRH The Prince of Wales, a Government Minister, the Deputy Mayor of London, Nicky Gavron and a number of other dignitaries will be introduced to the world’s first hydrogen-powered emissions-free luxury saloon car. Following the rally, the BMW Hydrogen 7 will take pride of place in a display of the participating cars at the London Science Museum.

BMW Group Head of Government and Industrial Affairs, John Hollis, said: “The use of the BMW Hydrogen 7 at the Revolve Brighton to London rally marks yet another step towards hydrogen powered cars becoming an everyday reality on the streets of this country. Zero emission motoring is no longer a dream and this car proves the technology isn’t as far away as some sceptics may think.

“We want to kick-start the debate about the future of personal mobility and the importance of hydrogen as the definitive fuel. The opinions of politicians and other influencers are important in driving this forward to ensure that hydrogen-power comes to fruition as soon as possible.”

The BMW Hydrogen 7 is based on the existing 7 Series and comes equipped with a bivalent internal combustion engine capable of running on 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 fuel 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, stored at -253 degrees Celsius. 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. A bespoke filling station has been constructed in Wembley to support BMW’s plans.

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.