Hydrogen engines to out perform gasoline


June 4, 2004

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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.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, (Australia's largest Telco), (Australia's largest employment site),,, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon

Combine with and the dream of a car that runs on water my finally be realized.

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Hydrogen 7 is unique. While other manufacturers have developed fuel cell cars use hydrogen to create energy that powers an electric motor car BMW liquid hydrogen is burned directly in an internal combustion engine. It uses the same V12 engine to burn gasoline and hydrogen in a fuel tank for each - which is contrary to both body and space, the cockpit, but gives drivers the option of using clean combustion of hydrogen when they can find and gasoline goes from a hydrogen filling station.

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