BMW has just released its new 7-series Hydrogen Powered Vehicle. This is landmark event by any accounts. They plan to build one hundred of them over the next year, and up to several thousand per year eventually.
Unfortunately, like its non-tailpipe emitting brethren in green, the electric cars, The New 7 series is limited in range, and can only go 125 miles on Hydrogen. That’s not quite far enough to make a tour with it between the handful of Hydrogen refueling stations in Europe. Never worry, this super sedan can change over to old faithful gasoline at the flick of a button on the dash, keep right on motoring for another 310 miles, and people can smell the emissions it makes right there at the tailpipe just like a 1980 318i.
Speaking of those old, efficient, fun 318i machines, the Hydrogen 7 claims to get 21.3 mpg equivalent running on Hydrogen, and 20.3 on Gasoline. It does zero to sixty in 9.5 seconds, and has a top speed of 143 mph. Assuming you are a wealthy environmentalist who doesn’t mind losing stoplight quarter miles to cars that cost more than 100,000 dollars less, this is one heck of a ride. The price is not yet decided, but it should cost in the 150-200 thousand dollar range, and for another few hundred thousand dollars to a million, some master engineer could probably make you a device that separates hydrogen out of water with solar or wind power, and then you would have a lean, green driving machine.
As for most buyers who use Hydrogen, the emissions will be about the same, as the Hydrogen will be derived from fossil fuels. Without serious global investment in the sustainable separation of liquid hydrogen, water vapor emissions from hydrogen cars remain a pipe dream.
ED NOTE: I got to take this baby for a ride in LA a few weeks ago, quite a ride indeed – check out the ‘club of pioneers‘ website for details. (na)