BMW Halts 7 Series Hydrogen Vehicle Testing
By Eric Loveday
photo credit: Nick Humphries.
Is hydrogen dead? According to BMW, the answer may be yes for now. The company has decided to halt real-world testing of the 7 Series Hydrogen vehicles citing a lack of infrastructure and high conversion costs of the newly introduced 7 Series as the reason to end the on road test program.
The 7 Series hydrogen test program has logged more than 2 million accumulative miles to date in the hands of 100 selected individuals. The two year test program will come to a halt early next year. Though BMW does see promise in hydrogen technology, they do not see widespread support or necessary infrastructure components to make hydrogen a reality any time soon.
Monday, December 21, 2009
This news is not especially surprising. It was always a fact that internal combustion engines could be fueled with hydrogen. The stuff explodes. So if one could get the "small" problems solved--most especially how to store enough to give the vehicle a reasonable range and keep the super tiny hydrogen molecules from escaping--it was always possible to get a car to run on H. And BMW threw a bunch of engineering at the problem because hydrogen as a storage medium for energy is a pretty good bet.
But just burning hydrogen is a pretty primitive use of the substance. The fuel cell seems to get better energy conversion. But the fact that killed the hydrogen vehicle was the lack of infrastructure. The are a LOT of problems to be solved before hydrogen is produced, distributed, and stored in the volumes and locations necessary to support a fleet of automobiles.