BMW launches hydrogen-powered racer
TWIG - BMW has taken a major step forward in the race to develop an environmentally-friendly engine that replaces conventional fuel without compromising performance.
On Thursday, the Munich-based carmaker unveiled the world’s fastest hydrogen-powered vehicle to industry professionals gathered in Paris for the French capital’s annual auto show.
So far, the vehicle, which is called H2R, has reached top speeds exceeding 300 kilometers (185 miles) per hour at BMW’s high-speed Miramas Proving Grounds in France.
"BMW technology has already come a long way," said management board member Burkhard Goeschel in Paris. "Now, together with politicians and the energy industry, we must turn our vision of sustained mobility into reality."
Capable of rocketing to 100 kilometers per hour in less than six seconds, the H2R is powered by a modified 6-liter, 12-cylinder combustion engine — not the fuel-cell battery typical of most hydrogen-powered vehicles under development today.
While the HR2’s hydrogen-powered engine works in much the same way as a gasoline-powered one, the H2R emits steam instead of harmful carbon dioxide.
Months of research went into modifying a standard combustion engine to the combustion properties of hydrogen, which are quite different from those of normal gasoline or diesel, Goeschel said.
BMW plans to launch a "hybrid" version of its luxury
7-Series sedan within a few months, thus introducing the first car of its
kind able to run on both hydrogen and petrol.
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