Could hydrogen be the fuel of the future?

BMW 750hL sedans have traveled total of 63,000 using only hydrogen fuel, though range is limited to just under 220 miles per tank full.

Published: 16-Mar-2001

MUNICH, Germany (CNN) -- No more smelly fumes at the gas station. No more polluting C02 emissions. Far less dependence on uneven supplies of fossil fuels. Could hydrogen, the simplest and most abundant element in the universe, address both energy and clean air concerns? BMW is committing a lot of engineering resources to find an answer to that question. But hydrogen's possibilities also pose a sort of "chicken and egg" quandary for the company.

How can they get consumers to buy hydrogen fueled cars if drivers can't find fuel? And how do they get energy companies committed to building hydrogen service stations if few people own these cars? BMW isn't putting all its eggs in one basket. The German auto giant is working with governments, oil companies, and transportation researchers to promote the long-term benefits of cars that use this pollution-free fuel. The company is demonstrating its hydrogen-powered vehicles during a global road show, "The Clean Energy World Tour 2001," that kicked off in Dubai in February. By mid-year BMW will also give demonstrations in Brussels, Belgium; Milan, Italy; Tokyo, Japan; and Los Angeles, California.

'It feels like a normal car' Alternative fueled vehicles often conjure up visions of heavy and clunky electric cars, a good idea that's just "not quite there yet." And certainly not the image of speed and performance BMW cultivates. So it was important to BMW that their hydrogen vehicle look like their other products.



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