BMW Hydrogen 7

BMW introduced the Hydrogen 7 at the 2006 Los Angeles Auto Show. The vehicle utilizes a duel fuel engine, burning both gasoline and liquid hydrogen, but beyond this oddity it is a four-door 7-series BMW, no more and no less.

by Ross Bonander, Contributing Writer

Type: Dual fuel (liquid hydrogen / gasoline)
Class: Luxury sedan

Manufacturer: BMW

BMW Hydrogen 7

The Manufacturer Says...

“Our long-term EfficientDynamics strategy can be summed up with one vehicle: the BMW Hydrogen 7. As the world's first luxury performance sedan with hydrogen drive, it runs on the most plentiful element in the world and emits virtually nothing but water vapor.”

The Critics Say...

“An energy-guzzling engine that only seems to be environmentally friendly -- a farcical ecomobile whose only true merit is that of illustrating the cardinal dilemma of a possible hydrogen-based economy.” —Spiegel Online International .

“BMW fully acknowledges its Hydrogen 7 makes no commercial sense in the near term. But the project is not about replacing gasoline any time soon. It is … intended to … offer a vision of the future … the Hydrogen 7 is a revelation, and BMW earns our congratulations for taking this aggressive step.” —

What We Like

The performance. For its size and additional weight it performs well against the traditional 7, using a 260 horsepower, twelve-cylinder engine to reach 60 mph in around nine seconds, with a top speed of 143 mph.

The duel fuel engine. Its internal combustion engine is capable of burning either gasoline or liquid hydrogen at the touch of a button, and can offer a range of 400 miles.

The technology. Ideally a hydrogen powered vehicle will use a fuel cell and not an ICE, but these are the necessary steps towards exploring the possibilities in hydrogen.

What We Don’t Like

To be straight, we’re not thrilled about the performance or the engine; in fact, it’s impossible even to attach the word “thrilled” to the technology. The manufacturer, which calls the driving experience of the 7, "spectacularly unspectacular" , nicely sums up our inability to get too excited either way about this car. Having said that …

BMW Hydrogen 7 Specifications

Propulsion system: 260 hp, 6-liter V-12 duel-fuel Internal combustion engine
Top Speed: 143 mph
Zero-to-60: 9 seconds
MPG: NA (the vehicle has a 30 gallon tank for the hydrogen, and a 19.5 gallon gas tank)
Vehicle range: 400 miles (125 on hydrogen, 310 on gas)
Fuel(s): ): Gasoline & liquid hydrogen Tailpipe emissions: None


… we have seen at least one other example of a car maker taking a standard, top-selling model and tweaking only the fuel source—namely in the Honda Civic GX. There is a lot to like about this concept—putting consumers into a vehicle they know and trust, but one with an alternative fuel source: it offers a potentially smooth, near-painless way of weaning us off gasoline and diesel.

By itself, this vehicle won’t achieve much in that vein, but it is, to quote the write-up, an “aggressive step” forward. Ultimately, testing and perfecting this kind of technology requires deep pockets—and BMW has them.

More information on the BMW Hydrogen 7 at:

BMW Hydrogen 7


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