Hydrogen engines to out perform gasoline
By Mike Hanlon
June 4, 2004
The hydrogen-powered combustion engine is superior in its power and performance potential to a current gasoline engine. This is the conclusion outlined recently by Dr. Burkhard G'schel, Board Member BMW AG for Development and Purchasing, at the 24th International Engine Symposium in Vienna.
Focusing on hydrogen technology, BMW Group engineers have made a decisive breakthrough in the meantime, optimum use of the power potential in hydrogen opening up brand-new options never seen before. This gives the hydrogen-powered combustion engine an even higher standard of superiority over other alternative drive concepts. Such examinations of the engine's potential cover the entire operating range.
"The results we have achieved so far are truly impressive", states Dr. G'schel.
"With the hydrogen engine offering a higher standard of power and performance than even a modern gasoline engine."
In technology developed by BMW Group engineers and registered for patent, hydrogen combustion is controlled with ideal efficiency serving at the same time to optimise the fuel/air mixture. This overcomes the generally assumed contradiction in terms between high power, on the one hand, and low emissions, on the other.
An ideal team in the car: hydrogen and the combustion engine
The standard of efficiency offered by the hydrogen combustion engine is absolutely competitive, also in terms of performance, versus other alternative drive concepts.
Said Dr. G'schel, "We have given ourselves the objective to achieve an overall efficiency rating of 50 per cent."
The BMW Group is looking at the hydrogen combustion engine as the ideal drive system in the long term, thus focusing on proven technology benefitting from decades of experience and offering an enormous potential for ongoing development.
The BMW Group is therefore promoting series development of the combustion engine, with the specific objective to offer the customer a car not differing significantly in everyday use from conventional cars today - apart from the fact that it runs on hydrogen, not on conventional fuel.
"For this logical reason alone, we will be introducing a hydrogen version of the 7 Series during the lifecycle of the current model for road use", states Dr. G'schel.
"We are not looking at some form of 'austerity on four wheels', but rather a fully-fledged performance machine offering the current standard of a BMW also in terms of the range it can cover, the space available, safety and motoring comfort."
The reason, quite simply, is that the BMW Group wishes to preserve the sheer driving pleasure typical of the brand in every respect, in the process adding the significant quality of "pure" driving pleasure.