Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on October 24, 2007
Filed Under Alternative Vehicles
You may have seen Will Farrell getting another car recently – one with plenty of advertising ala his Ricky Bobby days, but this one runs on hydrogen instead of gas. Jay Leno got one, too. They’re among the chosen few to be on BMW’s exclusive list of Hydrogen 7 owners.
The car rolled out in mid-September as “a limited series, sold to select customers,” Leno and Farrell included. Only about 100 celebs worldwide are on the list, so don’t expect to see it at your local BMW dealer anytime soon. Is it cool? Sort of. The Hydrogen 7 boasts all the amenities expected in a luxury car – including a 260 horsepower engine that will get you from 0 to 60 in under 10 seconds. The car can run on either gasoline or hydrogen – the driver decides – giving it a range of over 400 miles, and produces only water when running in hydrogen mode.
Is it “G”? There are some discrepancies on this question. The hydrogen engine only gets you about 125 miles before it runs out – and I’m not aware of any hydrogen stations in the U.S. yet. Also, according to Spiegel International, the car only goes about 2 km/liter of hydrogen and about 17 mpg in gasoline mode, equaling the environmental impact of a tractor trailer.
Much of the environmental impact comes from producing hydrogen and then storing it in a liquefied form. Hydrogen is either created as a byproduct of fossil fuel production or through electrolysis of water (requiring tremendous amounts of electricity). It must then be liquefied – requiring a temperature below -400 degrees F. In short, more energy currently goes into creating hydrogen than it produces.
Are we on the path to a hydrogen economy? Not yet. Maybe the internal combustion engine has reached the end of its run and forward thinkers like BMW can push the market in a different direction.
But seeing as how only “select customers” can get them, this is hardly revolutionizing the auto industry.