BMW has been working on hydrogen cars for the past 30 years. In 2000, BMW introduced the world's first production-line hydrogen car, the BMW 750hL. The 750hL had a 12-cylinder, 204 horsepower engine that could run on hydrogen as well as on regular fuel. . . a must since hydrogen fuel was not. . . and still isn't. . .commonplace.
In 2007 it introduced the BMW Hydrogen 7, a so-called ‘eco-luxury’ performance car, with an internal combustion engine that runs on both hydrogen and regular fuel. Unfortunately for the rest of us, these were offered only to celebrities and other “special" people, so most of us will probably never get the chance to own one.
BMW's hydrogen cars, because they use both hydrogen and gasoline, have two separate tanks that can be switched back and forth simply by pushing a button, a must for driving any distance, since hydrogen refueling stations are few and far between in the US.
BMW's approach toward hydrogen cars has been that it's more practical to burn hydrogen in an internal combustion engine than it is to pass hydrogen through fuel cells to produce electricity to drive electric motors, even though gasoline produces more pollutants and gets lower mileage than fuel cells.
They have also taken the approach that hydrogen is the fuel of the future because it is available in endless supply. Not only that but, unlike gas powered cars that give off CO2 and other greenhouse gases, a car running on hydrogen only gives off clean water vapor.
One downside of hydrogen is that it's not really a fuel by itself. It simply stores energy. The trick is to get the energy from hydrogen without using fossil fuels. Another is storing it. To keep hydrogen liquid, it must be kept at -253° C, something even BMW hasn't been able to do for long periods in their hydrogen cars.
As a result, many people disagree with BMW about the long-term feasibility of hydrogen cars but, with support from the German government, BMW has gone full steam. . . or we say, hydrogen. . . ahead.
Steve Longoria writes on the growing Alternative Fuel Vehicles market, encouraging people to adopt greener fuels and, ultimately, to help people save money. For more info on alternative fuel vehicles then visit ezAlternativeFuelVehicles.com