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Freude am Fahren
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am posting this (coincidentally, my 10.000. post here) in the General forum since this is about an experimental BMW program.

I am just back from a week spent driving BMW´s Hydrogen 7er in Southern California. The car drives just like a non-Hydrogen 7er, which is a good thing of course. In other words, you can´t really tell the difference (except for the word Hydrogen all over).

There is one difference: the output (exhaust) of the car in H2 mode is Wasser! :thumbup:

I picked up the car in Oxnard (saw a few mules driving around :angel:) at BMW´s research facility. I then spent two nights in Newport Beach (Fairmont, for the curious) and then two days in Santa Monica (also Fairmont).

The car got everyone´s attention, on the freeway, the PCH, pulling into hotels (the Newport Beach´s Fairmont´s general manager offered to swap his 3er with me). The Santa Monica hotel staff insisted I park way up front (they said it was good for the hotel´s image).

Kudos to the Fairmont chain - all hybrid cars (including mine) park for free (regular price, $28/p.d.).

The changeover from H2 to petrol at speed is undetectable. The engineering that had to have gone into this vehicle is incredible.

A word about H2 technology. At best, this is 10-15 years off, if it happens at all. There is no infrastructure now for pumping liquid hydrogen and that has to be in place if anyone is to really market the cars.

BMW is producing ca. 100, with most staying in Germany and perhaps up to 25 coming to the U.S. They are not for sale but BMW is inviting people to drive them for several months (my period was more limited because I live on the east coast and it wasn´t practical for me to spend three months there).

Fotos

1.) Hydrogen 7er at the filling station

2.) Bordmonitor´s display when you are out of hydrogen

3.) Cluster shows both fuels

4.) Door sill

5.) Hydrogen tank in trunk

6.) Ocean view from my hotel

7.) Car parked way up front

8.) Tank details (scroll down for this Foto since it didn´t appear in this post)
 

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Running around in circles
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Congrats on 10k post.
Where's pic #8? :dunno:
10-15 years off??!!??
What's BMW's stop gap solution? Diesels? or some form of Hybrid perhaps?
 

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Freude am Fahren
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Congrats on 10k post.
Where's pic #8? :dunno:
10-15 years off??!!??
What's BMW's stop gap solution? Diesels? or some form of Hybrid perhaps?
I don´t know what happened to the image - is there a 7 image limit? :dunno:

I will post it below.

Re your question, BMW sells more diesels than petrol cars in Germany and is starting to bring diesel Autos to the U.S. That is the short term solution but diesel uses up precious non renewable resources as well.
 

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Freude am Fahren
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Foto Nr. 8

Here is Foto Nr. 8
 

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Special Agent
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Congrats on 10K and thanks for the info! Interesting to hear that this is so far down the pipeline. It is understandable due to the infrastructure but I wonder if they keep the dual fuel to begin it would be more practical; in other words rolling it out in major cities first and then worry about the remainder later. I could see NYC building several stations just for livery and MTA equipment and then roll it out to the general public, they started to do this with LNG but that was not as practical in many ways.

Looking forward to the future and some good clean energy that will not raise my food prices!:thumbup:
 

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Nice car J!! what kind of HP dit it have?!
 

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Freedom isn't free!!
2018 Glacier Silver 340i M Sport
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Congrats on 10k post. A thought on hydrogen power - an engineer friend of mine was telling me recently about another more practical use for hydrogen power; electricity production for individual homes. He's has been reading reports on using hydorgen cells for personal home electricity production. A much safer application because the hydrogen cells are stationary. Unfortunately, the electric utilities are probably an even bigger obstacle to this application than the oil companies are to putting it in cars. Can you imagine a technology that would make electric utilities obsolete?!
 

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Freude am Fahren
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Nice car J!! what kind of HP did it have?!
The 6 litre engine has a maximum output of 191 kW (roughly 260 hp) and a max. speed of 230 km/h.

It goes 0-100 km/h in 9.5 seconds.
 

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Freude am Fahren
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
What kind of mileage did you get?
200 km on a tank of h2. 500 km on the gasoline tank (roughly 18 gallons)
 

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Other than for a media spectical, I don't think Hydrogen will make it.

I have yet to see any MPG equivalent figures for this car. So I doubt it is cost effective to drive. And although it is not burning fossil fuel, a lot of fossil fuel is used to make Hydrogen and fuel cells. Remember, even batteries are made with equipment and facilities powered by fossil fuels. And finally, if all cars were Hyrdrogen, there would be so much more humidity due to water vapor emissions thereby causing folks to use home/work A/C units more. I don't see anything positive here. :dunno:
 

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In vino veritas
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This is a genuinely fascinating engineering exercise, but I fear it has little to no practical use now or in the near future and is probably more of a grandiose PR exercise than anything else.

Hydrogen is not a fuel or energy source - it's merely a carrier (and a somewhat inefficient one at that) for energy which has been obtained from another source (usually fossil fuels!) - in fact, much of the pure bulk hydrogen produced today is actually pulled directly from fossil fuels.

Theoretically, it would be possible to use hydrogen as a clean carrier for energy obtained from natural sources, such as a geothermal vents, hydro falls, wind, or solar radiation. The problem with this is that the technology we're using to harness these resources is relatively primitive (and there's some debate about how much energy there even is to acquire, even with massive leaps in technology - solar being the most promising and likely near term solution), and simply cannot provide even a significant fraction of the energy we're able to acquire through fossil fuel combustion. Subsequently, we cannot afford to waste this energy on a process as inefficient as electrolysis, so I personally think that direct electric is a much more likely future power source (at least until something like thermochemical processing can be developed to a higher level, if ever) for mobile vehicles.

The reality is that we're going to live in a much lower energy environment regardless of the methods we use to acquire said energy. Barring fantastic improvements in technology which are not likely to occur within our lifetimes, energy is simply not going to be anywhere near as cheap or easy to obtain as it was during the height of the fossil fuel era. Any improvement in efficiency or energy generation is going to require an associated decrease in consumption if industrial civilization is to survive the depletion of hydrocarbon fuel sources.
 

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Advocate de diabolo
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This is a genuinely fascinating engineering exercise, but I fear it has little to no practical use now or in the near future and is probably more of a grandiose PR exercise than anything else...........................Any improvement in efficiency or energy generation is going to require an associated decrease in consumption if industrial civilization is to survive the depletion of hydrocarbon fuel sources.
Excellent post. A previous poster suggested electricity? would become somewhat obsolete, another misconception. Hydrogen is very difficult to be separated from anything but fossil fuels right now unless one is willing to expend more energy than produce in the form of hydrogen separation. The only option in the future will be electric cars with excellent battery capacities. Hydrogen fuel cells can be used at the electric plant in conjunction with super conducting technology to hold the energy before transport to cities/towns/communities. Right now, the first thing to upgraded should be the electric plants, then transportation, which is in development at MIT right now. I was lucky to get a tour of the facilities (my access is only biotech MEM labs and whitehead there unfortunately), and I was very impressed on capacitor implementation.

Even though I find the H7 really interesting from an engineering perspective, the H7 is NOT environmentally friendly. It is based upon hydrogen combustion, NOT fuel cell technology. This means the byproduct is still a greenhouse gas, not like fuel cell technology at all. I agree w/ akhbhaat, and not with the odd post that hydrogen fuel would be at every house, that would put any economy into a depression due to the cost of separation of hydrogen. The only places high capacity fuel cells make sense economically and environmentally are at electricity plants. I have had many discussions with colleagues about this, many people have great ideas about alternative fuel, but the cost of this fuel always outweighs the usefulness in the real world.

Akhbhaat is correct, once energy costs really affect the world economy VERY negatively (early 1900's depression style), governments will keep depending on fossil fuels. Hydrogen fuel still depends on fossil fuels. At halburton, there are major breakthroughs in hydrogen extraction from coal, the most abundant fossil fuel in the U.S., but still not as efficient/environmentally friendly as extraction from oil. Hopefully, in the future, there will be a better way to transport energy, even utilizing the moon's access to unfettered sun rays, a current NASA project. Right now, gas combustion is and will be popular until hybrids/electric vehicles come down in price and take out their bs NiMH batteries and at least put in a Li-ion battery for better capacity and life. The upkeep of hybrids is awful due to the early deaths of NiMHs and the fact that most warranties don't cover them; the cost is worse for the hybrids up front and during, which is a huge issue with consumers who want a reliable vehicle for their hard earned money. Right now gas combustion vehicles are at a high point in technology, while hybrids/electrics are still in a much lower categorical point. Until alternative fuel technology, pricing, and reliability is better, combustion will reign unfortunately.
 

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Freedom isn't free!!
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And finally, if all cars were Hyrdrogen, there would be so much more humidity due to water vapor emissions thereby causing folks to use home/work A/C units more. I don't see anything positive here. :dunno:
... :rofl:

Hydrocarbon fuel combustion in oxygen (basically all common forms of combustion) produces water vapor.
 

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Freude am Fahren
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Even though I find the H7 really interesting from an engineering perspective, the H7 is NOT environmentally friendly. It is based upon hydrogen combustion, NOT fuel cell technology. This means the byproduct is still a greenhouse gas, not like fuel cell technology at all.
Nein, the byproduct is water vapor, which is exceptionally friendly to the environment.

This is still an experimental vehicle. It is very important that BMW (and other car makers and non-car makers) undertake such exercises so we can learn what we can and cannot do.
 

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3 pedals only!
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It is based upon hydrogen combustion, NOT fuel cell technology. This means the byproduct is still a greenhouse gas, not like fuel cell technology at all.
Unless you like your hydrogen bonded to long chains of carbon, this statement is absolutely false. The only difference between a fuel cell and a hydrogen ICE is thermal efficiency.

The obstacles to H2 as a fuel are as follows:

1. Obtaining H2 in a carbon friendly manner, or, alternately, putting the carbon you do generate somewhere else besides the atmosphere.

2. Building the infrastructure to safely deliver and store H2.

3. Making vehicles that can use H2.

#1 is an active research topic, and things like injecting CO2 into old oil wells are being tested. It is reasonable to assume that this is a solvable problem.

#2 Is also a solvable problem with known technology. The H2 7er is evidence of that.

#3 is the most difficult issue. Fuel cells have decades to go before they can be deployed in a cost effective manner with the necessary efficiencies. Complicating matters, electric motors have a serious cost problem due to the cost of copper at the moment. putting an additional 100 million of them on the road every year will be a huge obstacle.

Therefore, H2 burning ICE's make perfect sense as a intermediate step to using H2 as a fuel, and can be transformed into a usable product in a reasonable amount of time.
 

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3 pedals only!
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What's BMW's stop gap solution? Diesels? or some form of Hybrid perhaps?
Yes to both.

Just look at diesels they sell in Europe. The 520d hits close to 50mpg (imperial, about 40mpg US). These will start arriving here in January.

BMW is also jointly developing an automatic transmission with integrated electric motors for hybrid use with GM and DCX. I believe SOP is either 2009 or perhaps 2010 for this transmission.
 
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