Would You Own and Drive This Car?
Being told that you cannot park your new car in a garage has to one of the biggest red flags when it comes to vehicle safety. Especially when you learn that the vehicle will be actively leaking out hydrogen gas to prevent a fuel storage tank from becoming overly pressurized and rupturing.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you what may possibly be nicknamed BMW’s “Hindenburg Hybrid.”
In what is described as an “engineering stunt,” engineers from BMW have come up with a dual-fuel model known as the BMW Hydrogen 7 that despite its potential to go down in history as an automotive folly, is an extraordinary undertaking in what is possible with automotive tech. Powered by a V12 engine, the BMW Hydrogen 7 can run on either gasoline or hydrogen, and is claimed to seamlessly switch between the two fuel types while driving down the road.
Seamless perhaps, but is this safe?
Bear in mind that the hydrogen stored onboard is in a liquid form that needs to maintained at -253ºC! To power the engine, the liquid hydrogen is allowed to warm up gently to convert it into its usable gaseous form. However, according to a recent Engineering Explained YouTube channel episode, there are many challenges associated with liquid hydrogen storage in a vehicle---safety being one of them.
From BMW’s press kit about when deliberately putting a flame to escaping (or actively vented hydrogen gas) from a punctured hydrogen tank in a test vehicle,” …the flames burnt upwards, but the roofline in the passenger compartment did not start to burn until after 5 minutes, enough time for the occupants to leave the vehicle or to be rescued by helpers.”
Really?! Sounds more like a problem than a safety feature. Having witnessed numerous vehicle accidents as a paramedic where passengers wound up trapped within a vehicle, that 5 minutes is not enough by a long shot. Oh well, maybe that’s one for the NHTSA and lawyers to workout.
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If Safety is Not a Deterrence, Then Maybe Other Problems Will Be
While the video only touches on the safety questions that should be addressed, it is more of a focus on the technology: How it works and why there are other problems using liquid hydrogen as the host discusses the car’s key components, performance figures, range, storage challenges…and drawbacks.
That said, it is an interesting look into new automotive tech as you decide for yourself whether or not this vehicle is a hydrogen bomb just waiting to explode with its first fender bender and/or whether a design using liquid hydrogen really offers any real benefit.
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BMW's Hydrogen V12 Engine Is a Hilarious Engineering Stunt
For additional articles related to some engineering marvels, here are three for your consideration:
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Timothy Boyer is a Torque News automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily new and used vehicle news.
Image Source: Pixabay