Simply Jean was invited to the showroom of the BMW Hydrogen 7 which is being showcased in Singapore since March 7. The exhibition is located in a futuristic, glass-and-steel pavilion located at the corner of Beach and Ophir Roads and opens daily from 9am to 5pm till March 23, when they will move on to other parts of Asia.
First impression of the BMW Hydrogen 7 was that it was similar to any other BMW 7 series in that it matches the aesthetics of the latter that gives the same feel and look of the superior sleekness of a BMW. However, beneath the metallic body unveils an entirely different architecture of the fuel system. The BMW Hydrogen 7 is a part-hydrogen, part-petrol machine that runs 200km from a full liquid hydrogen tank and hits 500km on a full petrol tank. The liquid hydrogen is stored in a thick steel cylinder that’s been crash tested against weight, impact and temperature. The result of using hydrogen is that only water is produced instead of Hydrogen. In fact, BMW even bottled up the water to give it to their guests at the showroom.
Images from Left to Right, Top to Bottom: Back of the distinctive BMW Hydrogen 7, the liquid hydrogen tank, the 12V engine, the hydrogen refuelling valve, the steering with push-button to switch to hydrogen and back, the sleekness of the back wheel, the BMW Hydrogen Power illuminator, and Hydrogen 7 brand
Safety is one of the top consideration in the design of the BMW Hydrogen 7 – just like how LTA implemented the recent taxi rule in the CBD. As such, any vapour that is given out during combustion is channel through 2 valves – one at the roof of the car and another at the bottom – in case the car topples. Locks at the door are translucent with LEDs that blink should hydrogen leakage be detected within the car. In such a situation, all windows will automatically wind down.
The BMW Hydrogen 7 is powered by a 12V engine and has both hydrogen and petrol lines. The maximum torque of the car is modified so that there will not be an obvious jerk when the car switches from hydrogen to petrol or vice versa. This option is available either through the push of a button at the steering or when hydrogen or petrol runs out – during which, an automatic switch is triggered.
The test drive along Beach Road was good and comfortable and the switch from hydrogen to petrol and vice versa was only noticeable through the sound of the click of the valve. This 7 series, like it’s petrol-based cousin has good handling and shields passengers from noisy roads. In fact, a decent conversation went on despite a bus and a lorry rambling on its side. As this is a foreign registered car, the GPS system wasn’t activated. If you weren’t being told that it’s a hydrogen-hybrid, you probably can’t tell the difference.
Images from Left to Right, Top to Bottom: Front of the distinctive BMW 7 series, the back passenger LCD panel, the control knob for the back passengers, the flushed side handles, the top light and control panel for back passengers, the flush-hidden mirrors, comfort and control by the door, and the BMW Hydrogen 7 back view
However, because we didn’t really have a chance to drive the BMW Hydrogen 7 at top speed, I can’t comment on the car’s ultimate performance. However, given the track record of BMW’s, there’s no doubt on what it can do.
The BMW Hydrogen 7 is committed to making clean energy a reality. By working with organizations to provide the basic framework and architecture for producing and supporting clean energy fuel, BMW hopes to make hydrogen fuel a reality for consumers.