The German automaker, BMW Group, will introduce its fleet of hydrogen powered 750hL sedans to the United States this July.
WOODCLIFF LAKE, New Jersey – The car is the world’s first fleet of production-based hydrogen powered cars, which officials says reflects BMW’s commitment to making hydrogen power a reality. The fleet will arrive in Los Angeles as part of the BMW CleanEnergy World Tour. The first stop on the tour will be Dubai, which is a country that is expected to produce hydrogen fuel using sea water and solar energy in the near future. Other stops on the tour will include Milan, Tokyo and Brussels. BMW unveiled the 15 hydrogen-powered vehicles last summer in Berlin and were then displayed at the world’s fair in Hanover, Germany. The 750hL represents 30 years of development into hydrogen-powered automobiles and offers a practical solution to the need for emission-free vehicles, say BMW officials. The car does not use a hydrogen fuel cell, but a V12 internal combustion engine that is powered by liquid hydrogen. Vehicle weight is increased significantly by the combination of a fuel cell and electric motor, and the space required makes conventional design difficult. BMW marketing brochures say that “the desire to drive an environmentally-friendly vehicle should not come at the expense of practicality,” and the company claims that its internal combustion and liquid hydrogen motor “provides a driving experience that would make even the most ardent BMW enthusiast feel very much at home.” The use of liquid hydrogen allows a much higher cruising range than gaseous hydrogen for the same space, but the lack of public liquid hydrogen refueling stations require the 750hL to also run on gasoline. This dual fuel capability would not be possible using gaseous hydrogen. “Using solar power, it will be possible to produce hydrogen fuel without emissions,” says the brochures. “This represents the ultimate goal of the completely clean vehicle.” The BMW CleanEnergy WorldTour will provide an opportunity to experience the capabilities of the 750hL and to promote the use of hydrogen power. The BMW Group will present the case for the liquid hydrogen-powered internal combustion engine. Los Angeles was chosen as the U.S. site for the tour because of California’s long commitment to reducing vehicle tailpipe emissions and the research with hydrogen power in that state. After the tour, part of the 750hL fleet will remain at BMW’s research centre in Oxnard for extended evaluation. BMW has a network of 340 car, 315 Sports Activity Vehicle and 160 motorcycle retailers in the U.S. The Group’s headquarters for North, Central and South America is based in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.