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FRANCE: BMW sets speed records with hydrogen combustion engine

By just-auto.com editorial team | 11 October 2004

BMW has for some time been an advocate of the use of liquid hydrogen in the combustion engine - marking it out from other manufacturers whose preferred hydrogen route is the fuel cell. As part of the promotion of its technology, BMW has set up some nine speed records for hydrogen-drive cars with combustion engine at the high-speed Miramas Proving Grounds in France.

"Nine records marking the start into the hydrogen age. BMW technology has already come a long way. Now, together with politicians and the energy industry, we must turn our vision of sustained mobility into reality," said Professor Burkhard Göschel, Board Member of the BMW AG, during the speed record trials in Miramas. BMW is stressing its conviction that hydrogen is able to replace conventional fuel without requiring the driver to make the slightest compromise in terms of dynamic, up-to-date performance.

The record breaking 'H2R Record Car' is equipped with a six-litre 12 cylinder power unit developing an output of more than 210 kW or 285 bhp. This accelerates the BMW prototype to 100 km/h in approximately 6 seconds and gives it a top speed of 302.4 km/h (185.52 mph). Based on the gasoline power unit featured in the BMW 760i, BMW says that its hydrogen combustion engine boasts the most advanced technologies such as BMW's fully variable Valvetronic valve drive.

The main modifications to the engine involve the fuel injection system adapted by BMW to the special features and requirements of hydrogen.

BMW will be launching a dual-mode version of the current 7 Series during the production cycle of the present model, thus introducing the first car of its kind able to run on both hydrogen and gasoline.
 
The H2R prototype set up the following records shown here in terms of times measured and speed achieved:

(time in seconds/speed in km/h)

Flying-start kilometre: 11.993 / 300.190

Flying-start mile: 19.912 / 290.962

Standing-start 1/8 mile: 9.921 / 72.997

Standing-start ¼ mile: 14.933 / 96.994

Standing-start ½ kilometre: 17.269 / 104.233

Standing-start mile: 36.725 / 157.757

Standing-start 10 miles: 221.052 / 262.094

Standing-start kilometre: 26.557 / 135.557

Standing-start 10 kilometres: 146.406 / 245.892