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BMW Hydrogen Car Ready for Racing around the House


August 15, 2005

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August 16, 2005 A BMW powered by hydrogen small enough to race around a lounge room has been built by technology students in Germany. The revved up racer is an authentic replica of the hydrogen-powered BMW that set nine speed records last year, including exceeding speeds of 300 km/h. The full size racer used a modified V12 6.0-litre engine borrowed from the $335,600 BMW 760Li. It was powered solely by hydrogen, just like the 1/8th scale model built by students at the Ingolstadt University of Applied Sciences. The scale model makes do with a slightly smaller engine of just 11.5 cc. Like the BMW H2R V12 racer, the scale model emits only water vapour from its tailpipe, making it entirely suitable for racing around the house. It has a top speed of 80 km/h.

“Our model shows that hydrogen drive also works on a small scale”, says Professor Jörg Wellnitz, who led the project.

“The project aims to make students more familiar with hydrogen technology. The hydrogen combustion engine will also play a dominant role in the future. The over 1,500 working hours invested in the project show that the participants really enjoyed themselves and were totally committed," the professor said.

Four undergraduates and two doctoral students at the UAS initially designed the chassis in the summer of 2004.

The plans for the combustion engine, hydrogen tank and all the remaining parts were designed using simulation software and then implemented by the students. The finished model, ready for driving, only needed a suitable body. The record-breaking BMW H2R was ideal for this.

A faithful scale model of the full-size BMW H2R was built from the original plans using state-of-the-art rapid prototyping processes. Professional model makers Graupner helped with the final body construction.

When the shell and the chassis were mated, the visual appearance was identical to that of the full-size record breaker.

The 1/8th scale model is 700 mm long, 250 mm wide and 150 mm high.

The chassis is a mix of aluminium and carbon fibre materials.

A supercharged, water-cooled 11.5 cc four-stroke engine produces 2.2 horsepower and excellent acceleration.

There are two storage options for the hydrogen supply: two high-pressure tanks store the equivalent of 60 litres of hydrogen under standard conditions.

Alternatively, two metal hybrid containers can be installed in the H2R model, containing 300 standard litres of fuel.

This is sufficient to operate the racer for around 25 minutes.

BMW has previously announced its intention to launch a petrol/hydrogen fuelled version of the 7 Series during the production cycle of the present model. The vehicle is expected to be available within the next two years, giving BMW a stake in the sphere of alternative fuel vehicles.

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, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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