BMW Hydrogen 7 Beats SULEV Standard

BMW’s Hydrogen 7, which has garnered attention for being test-driven by a roster of celebrities, has been put through rigorous testing by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory. Scientists at the facility have confirmed that the vehicle produces virtually zero emissions. The tests have shown that the Hydrogen 7’s engine operates at a level that exceeds the Super Ultra Low-Emission (SULEV) vehicle standard.

“The BMW Hydrogen 7′s emissions were only a fraction of SULEV level, making it one of the lowest emitting combustion engine vehicles that have been manufactured,” Thomas Wallner, the Argonne lab’s lead hydrogen vehicle testing engineer, told Science Daily Magazine. “Moreover, the car’s engine actively cleans the air. Argonne’s testing shows that the Hydrogen 7′s 12-cylinder engine actually shows emissions levels that, for certain components, are cleaner than the ambient air that comes into the car’s engine.”

Instead of using hydrogen to generate electricity in a fuel cell, the BMW Hydrogen 7— essentially a 7 Series sedan—burns hydrogen in its conventional V-12 engine. The version of the Hydrogen 7 tested by the Argonne Lab is a mono-fuel vehicle, only capable of running on hydrogen. Previous versions can switch to straight gasoline at the driver’s whim. Think of it as a dual-fuel gasoline-hydrogen hybrid. A full tank of liquid hydrogen will grant a vehicle range of more than 125 miles. Add a full tank of gasoline for another 300 miles of interstate driving. Put those two together and the BMW Hydrogen 7 can drive about 450 miles on a full supply of fuel.

There’s little hope that the BMW Hydrogen 7 will be put into production. Instead, the idea is for BMW to get more experience using hydrogen fuel in real world. The BMW Hydrogen 7 runs on liquid hydrogen, not gaseous hydrogen. There are only about 50 hydrogen fueling stations in the United States, and just a handful of those dispense liquid hydrogen. The temperature of hydrogen must be maintained at about 400 degrees below zero Fahrenheit to remain in a liquid state.

The findings of these independent tests will be presented on April 2 at the National Hydrogen Association Annual Hydrogen Conference in Sacramento, California.


  • JJspawn

    it sounds so good until they mention that one fact about have to stay at near absolute zero temperatures for use. So close but so very far.

  • gary

    they also don’t tell you that to make the hydrogen, it takes more oil than it does to produce gasoline

    so what is the point?

  • vinayababu

    It is the same old wine in a new bottle, the idea is too old. The point is how to reduce the cost of manufacturing and handling the liquid hydrogen to consider it as an alternate to oil.

  • steved28

    I’ve got an idea, lets focus all our R&D on jet packs! Or maybe a matter/anti-matter engine. Cold fusion?

  • Keith

    Wow, this is very interesting. This could spur a whole new breed of hybrid vehicles. As mentioned in the article there is only 50 hydrogen fueling stations in the US, so this seems like a major limiting factor for widespread adoption. Sure it can use gasoline too, but most people will not have access to the hydrogen so they will always use the gasoline and that kind of defeats the purpose.

  • Julie

    Actually, you’re wrong…you can source and manufacture Hydrogen without oil and in non-carbon emmiting ways. Please check out the book Smelling Land: The Hydrogen Defense against Climate Catastrophe at: http://www.smellingland.com to find out more.

    There are new technologies to old ideas. Be informed before making blanket statements.

  • keep informed

    This is THE EQUIVALENT OF 170 LITRES OF gasoline. The new BMW can be driven 500 km on its gasoline engine and 200 km on an equal amount of liquid hydrogen :)

  • tapra1

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