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BMW H2R Hydrogen Race Car

Broadcast dates : 24th April 2005
30th April 2005


Hydrogen is the fuel technology favoured by BMW for a pollution-free driving future. The Bavarian company has been developing various hydrogen prototypes over the past few years and the latest is this dramatic racer.

The car known as the H2R was designed and built over a period of just 10 months. The objective was to establish new speed records for hydrogen cars.

The car uses a V12 internal combustion engine displacing 6-litres, which is modified to accept liquid-hydrogen instead of petrol.

A mobile hydrogen filling station is used to introduce eleven kilograms of liquid-hydrogen into the carís special double-walled tank. A total of three valves are used in the fueling process, ensuring safety.

This comprehensive safety system featured in the H2R Record Car is also monitored by a telemetry system of the same type used in Formula 1.

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

Incidentally, BMW's future hydrogen engine will be launched in a dual-mode version of the current 7 Series during the production cycle of the present model. This car will be able to run on both petrol and hydrogen.

The H2R uses classic sports racing car technology with an aluminium space frame chassis. The sleek bodywork was designed in California and is made from carbon-fibre reinforced plastic.
It weighs just over 1500 kilograms, including the driver and a full tank of hydrogen fuel.

For the speed record attempts, the car was shipped to Miramas, the vast testing ground in the south of France.

And when push came to shove, the BMW H2R did not disappoint. A total of nine records were set up.

These included a flying kilometer in 11,9 seconds at a speed of 300 kilometres-per-hour.

Incidentally, using hydrogen fuel, the car accelerates to 100 kilometres-per-hour from rest in just 6 seconds.

What these tests prove is that the switch to hydrogen certainly doesnít mean a loss of performance. And that bodes well for both environmentalists and performance car fans.

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