LOS ANGELES --- The BMW Hydrogen 7, the first hydrogen-powered luxury sedan, pulled into Los Angeles on Aug. 23 to finish a more than 4,000-mile cross-country journey featuring hydrogen-powered cars by the world's leading automakers in the 2008 Hydrogen Road Tour.
The purpose of the tour was to "show that leading automakers and energy producers are doing their part to move away from fossil fuels to hydrogen, and showcase the cooperation among forward-thinking lawmakers, NGOs, the DOT, DOE and the industry," organizers said.
Logging a hydrogen cruising range of over 200 miles, the BMW Hydrogen 7 mono-fuel completed the two-week, 31-city tour with outstanding reliability and left only a trail of potable water vapor in its tracks. The 200-mile cruising range is equivalent to over 25 mpg. In the BMW Hydrogen 7 bi-fuel vehicle, the cruising range topped 125 miles. By optimizing the combustion process in the mono-fuel Hydrogen 7, the team achieved an increase in range of over 60 percent over the bi-fuel Hydrogen 7.
Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine kicked off the tour by driving a BMW Hydrogen 7 off the starting line when the tour began in Portland, Maine, on August 11. BMW provided a fleet of four hydrogen-powered cars -- two BMW Hydrogen 7 mono-fuel vehicles that use only liquid hydrogen and two BMW Hydrogen 7 bi-fuel vehicles that can switch from hydrogen to gasoline.
The four BMW vehicles, along with the core BMW Clean Energy team, were on the road for the entire two-week tour. The Hydrogen Road Tour is a partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Energy, the California Fuel Cell Partnership and the National Hydrogen Association.
In addition to BMW, participants included Daimler, GM, Honda, Hyundai-Kia, Nissan, Toyota, and VW. Providing clean, domestically produced hydrogen fuel for this tour were Linde, BMW's hydrogen fuel partner for the tour, and Air Products.
"The miles covered on this tour are a highly valuable contribution to the nearly 2 million miles already logged by our global fleet of 100 BMW Hydrogen 7s," said Tom Baloga, BMW vice president of engineering for the U.S. "This tour has shown thousands of people that hydrogen is truly the best alternative transportation fuel, and hydrogen vehicles are approaching commercial availability. An internal combustion engine powered by hydrogen should play an important role in the future of sustainable mobility."
The tour visited key members of Congress in their home states to allow them the opportunity to see and drive these vehicles. BMW Hydrogen 7 was the only vehicle on the tour that stores liquid hydrogen to power an internal combustion engine. Hydrogen is one of the cleanest energy sources available. Essentially the only tailpipe emission is water vapor.
The tour fleet included the mono-fuel version of the BMW Hydrogen 7, equipped with a V12 internal combustion engine (ICE), which has been engineered to run exclusively on hydrogen. It was created to showcase the zero CO2 and low emissions potential and feasibility of a dedicated hydrogen internal combustion engine.
The Hydrogen 7's V12 mono-fuel ICE produces no CO2 and near-zero emissions, while not sacrificing performance. In fact, the tailpipe emissions are so infinitesimal they push the limits of current emission testing technology. Independent authorities, including the Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), have confirmed these results. ANL conducted emission tests on BMW Hydrogen 7 mono-fuel vehicles in early March 2008 and found that not only were the emissions infinitesimally small but when running, the vehicle actually cleaned the air.
Recent studies have also confirmed the water emitted by the Hydrogen 7 is potable, i.e., safe to drink. Exhaust from the mono-fuel Hydrogen 7 tested by FGL Environmental was found to be well within the limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for safe drinking water standards. The maximum contaminant limit (MCL) is the maximum limit set by the EPA for chemicals found in drinking water. Results showed the MCL from mono-fuel H7 emissions to be in compliance with the health safety standards.
For more than a year, the BMW fleet of bi-fuel Hydrogen 7s has been an important milestone on the road to a hydrogen future, with more than 150 Pioneers driving nearly 2 million miles so far, the company said. The Pioneer Program, as it is called, has provided the flexibility of being able to gather real-world driving experience driving on hydrogen with the peace of mind that comes from knowing you won't run out of fuel.
In addition to the BMW hydrogen pioneers, hundreds of people from academia, students, media, as well as the general public have had the opportunity to experience the BMW Hydrogen. To check out a video, click here.
Originally posted on Green Fleet Magazine