It's Combustin' Time: Driving the BMW Hydrogen 7 in NYC

Illustration for article titled It's Combustin' Time: Driving the BMW Hydrogen 7 in NYC

BMW endowed us with some cruise time in the company's Hydrogen 7 earlier today. If you're not familiar with the Hydrogenization 7 — as one punch-drunk New Yorker dubbed it — it's BMW's V12-powered 7-Series that's been tricked with a liquid hydrogen tank, heat exchangers and other gear that allow it to run on either hydrogen or gasoline combustion. Hydrogen mode is engaged via a button on the steering wheel. Under hydrogen power, the most notable difference is a slight growl under hard acceleration. But while the gas-only version of BMW's 6.0-liter V12 produces 438 hp, this prototypical Hydrogen burner is a bit less potent. With a power rating of 260 hp, and an extra 550 pounds of componentry on board, the Hydrogen 7 gets off the line just slightly faster than a Rodan. Zero to 60 mph can be accomplished in around 10 seconds, which isn't terrible until you consider the abundance of cylinders under that beveled hood. Nonetheless, the real show is at the tailpipe, where emissions exist mainly in the form of water vapor. We swung by the United Nations building in Manhattan, and thought about the Kyoto Protocol for a few seconds. Then we pointed the Hydrogen 7 back into the stream of taxis and mail trucks and headed downtown. For a moment, we felt like a clear tumbler of Evian dumped into a scum-ridden pond. Then we goosed it, just to hear that growl.


Fill 'er Up With High Test: Driving the BMW Hydrogen 7 [internal]


why does it only produce 260hp instead of 438? Is that due to running on hydrogen, or did they detune it so it wouldn't A) blow up on hydrogen, or B) consume the hydrogen so quickly as to make it completely* pointless, or C) something else...

*"completely pointless" is beyond InflatableNinja's comment about the number of filling stations world wide...

btw - InflatableNinja: Are you any relation to PaperCutNinja? Do you deflate if he bumps up against you?