BMW's Fleet of Hydrogen Powered 7 Series Cars Comes to America

Cars to be on display as part of BMW CleanEnergy World Tour in LA on July 12th.

Published: 08-Jan-2001

WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J., Jan. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The BMW Group announced today that its fleet of hydrogen powered BMW 750hL sedans will be coming to the United States on July 12th of this year providing members of the media and public alike the opportunity to experience the world's first fleet of production-based, hydrogen powered cars. As a reflection of BMW's commitment to making hydrogen power a reality, the first-hand experience of these cars will be accompanied by a panel discussion, when the fleet arrives in Los Angeles, California.

The Los Angeles event is part of the BMW CleanEnergy World Tour. The first stop on the tour will take place in Dubai on January 31, 2001. Countries like Dubai in the sunbelt of the earth may produce hydrogen fuel using sea water and solar energy in the nearby future. From there it will make stops in Milan, Tokyo and Brussels before arriving in Los Angeles, California on July 12, 2001.

The BMW Group unveiled its fleet of 15 hydrogen-powered 750hLs in Berlin in May, 2000. The world was given the opportunity to see and experience these vehicles during EXPO2000, the world's fair in Hanover, Germany, throughout this past summer. The production-based BMW 750hL represents the culmination of 30 years of research and development of hydrogen-powered automobiles. It offers a practical solution to the desire to make emission-free vehicles available to the public. The BMW Group, as a company, has been recognized for its forward thinking approach to environmental issues. It also remains enthusiastically committed to providing an exhilarating driving experience.

That is why the BMW 750hL is powered not by a fuel cell, but by a production-based, liquid hydrogen-powered V12 internal combustion engine. There are many advantages to the internal combustion engine. The weight of the vehicle would be increased significantly by the combination of the fuel cell and an electric motor. Fuel cells take up a significant amount of space making a conventional design all but impossible. There are also sizable cost disadvantages associated with the fuel cells.

On the other hand, the internal combustion, liquid hydrogen V12 in the BMW 750hL provides a driving experience that would make even the most ardent BMW enthusiast feel very much at home. The desire to drive an environmentally-friendly vehicle should not come at the expense of practicality. In addition to the familiarity offered by an internal combustion engine, the use of liquid hydrogen provides another major advantage. With 37 gallons of liquid hydrogen onboard, the 750hL has a range of 250 miles. Achieving the same range from a tank a gaseous hydrogen would require far more space. There is currently only one public liquid hydrogen refueling station, which is located at the Munich airport. Therefore, out of practical necessity, the 750hL is designed to also run on gasoline, in case the supply of hydrogen runs out before a refueling station can be reached. This dual fuel capability would not be possible using gaseous hydrogen.

Hydrogen has yet another advantage. Using solar power, it will be possible to produce hydrogen fuel without emissions. This represents the ultimate goal of the completely clean vehicle.

The BMW CleanEnergy WorldTour event in Los Angeles will provide government officials, the media and members of academia the opportunity to not only experience the real world capabilities of the 750hL, but also to engage in a dialogue that will advance the cause of hydrogen power. The BMW Group will present the case for the liquid hydrogen-powered internal combustion engine.

Los Angeles was chosen as the site for the US BMW CleanEnergy WorldTour because California's long-standing commitment to reducing vehicle tailpipe emissions has lead to a great deal of research being carried out with hydrogen power in that state. At the event's conclusion, part of the BMW 750hL fleet will remain behind at BMW's Research and Engineering Center in Oxnard, California for extended evaluation and research.

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