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Hydrogen 7 to Australia
BMW to offer test drives of its hydrogen-powered limo - to a privileged few
5 Dec 2007
BMW is bringing its acclaimed hydrogen technology to Australia next month with a week-long public expo that will include test drives of a fleet of hydrogen-powered 7 Series limousines.
Australia is the first leg of a tour that will then work its way through Asia.
The expo will take place from January 21-29 at Melbourne’s Federation Square with a display of what BMW describes as “emission-free CleanEnergy mobility … solutions that do not rely on fossil fuels”.
However, only selected politicians, business leaders, media representatives and environmental opinion-formers will get the chance to take part in the highlight of the tour – driving the fleet of hydrogen-powered BMW 7 Series.
These vehicles have been used globally for shuttling around environmentally minded celebrities including Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Richard Gere, Jay Leno and Placido Domingo, as well as Australia’s own Academy Award winners Cate Blanchett (pictured below stepping onto the red carpet) and Geoffrey Rush.
The German company is importing its own specially designed pavilion to erect in Federation Square and it will contain both static and interactive displays of future technology – not just hydrogen – as well as information walls detailing BMW’s automotive technological advancements.
BMW claims that the Hydrogen 7 is fitted with the most advanced non-fossil fuel internal combustion engine ever made and that it is designed for everyday use.
Only 100 examples of the BMW Hydrogen 7 model will be produced, many of which have already been clocking up miles in key centres around the world where hydrogen filling stations have been built.
The car’s V12 engine produces 191kW of power and 390Nm of torque but emits virtually no harmful exhaust emissions or CO2 when running in hydrogen fuel mode.
The BMW Hydrogen 7 accelerates from 0-100km/h in 9.5 seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of 230km/h.
A specially designed crash-proof tank houses the 8kg of liquid hydrogen that powers the car, providing a useful cruising range of 200km on hydrogen and 500km on petrol.
The refuelling process was designed to be as conventional as possible and a one-touch steering wheel-mounted button allows the driver to switch between petrol and hydrogen fuel, even when on the move.
Hydrogen has long been regarded as the Holy Grail of clean fuel, but still faces a number of challenges to make it viable, including availability of filling stations and the environmental impact of turning cheap and plentiful hydrogen into a useable liquid form.
In Europe, BMW says that plans are afoot to develop a hydrogen refuelling infrastructure within the current petrol and diesel filling station model.
BMW Group Australia managing director Guenther Seemann said that the parent company has been working on hydrogen-fuelled vehicles since 1978, before many of today’s young drivers were even born.
“The BMW vision of future mobility is driving without emissions and the Hydrogen 7 already proves that this is possible,” said Mr Seemann.
“The launch of BMW Hydrogen 7 is a milestone en route to an era of mobility independent of fossil fuels not only for the BMW Group but also for the entire automotive and energy industry.
“The BMW Hydrogen 7 clearly proves liquid hydrogen may be used as a source of energy for production cars and we are delighted to be able to welcome the Hydrogen 7 sedans to Melbourne … to demonstrate to Australians the great strides in innovation BMW has taken and will continue to take in the future towards emission-free mobility.
“This exhibition will clearly explain to the public as well as opinion-formers and political leaders that alternative fuel systems have arrived.
“If Australia is to take advantage of these, it needs to act now to develop refuelling infrastructure strategies and means of generating renewal hydrogen resources.”
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