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BMW And GM On The Brink Of Fuel Cell Partnership?

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2006 BMW Hydrogen 7

2006 BMW Hydrogen 7

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It's sometimes easy to forget about fuel cell vehicles, with so much emphasis by manufacturers on electric cars and hybrids as a way of weaning ourselves off gasoline.

Honda still perseveres however, as does Mercedes-Benz with recent concept cars such as the F125!, shown at September's Frankfurt Motor Show.

BMW hasn't forgotten either, and according to Reuters (via Motor Authority), German weekly business magazine Wirtschaftswoche has reported that the German maker intends to join forces with General Motors to help develop the future of fuel cell technology.

Wirtschaftswoche says the talks are at an advanced stage and close to signing a cooperation agreement. GM has declined to comment, but BMW has confirmed that talks on future technologies are taking place.

The news follows BMW and Toyota's announcement to work together on future clean diesel vehicles.

Fuel cell vehicles offer several advantages over regular electric cars, such as ease of refuelling with liquid hydrogen in a matter of minutes, and much greater range thanks to the greater energy density of hydrogen.

The technology does have several minus points though too. The hydrogen refuelling network is currently very poor and significantly more expensive to set up than an electric car network. Refuelling at home is also much less viable and producing the quantities of hydrogen required for a fuelling network is particularly energy inefficient. One thing is for sure - the technology certainly needs more work before it's ready.

At this early stage there's little indication of what cars the partnership might result in, but it shows that hydrogen isn't completely out of sight and out of mind just yet.

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Comments (2)
  1. The one comment I would add is that GM is pursuing gaseous hydrogen storage under pressure (up to 10K psi) which can be dispensed at ambient temperatures. BMW's Hydrogen 7 used liquid hydrogen which needed to be chilled to near absolute 0 (near -273 degrees C) and injected it into a modified internal combustion engine. Gaseous hydgrogen also has the capability to be dispensed in 3-5 minutes.
     
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  2. Hydrogen is just not going to work. As any person that handles liquified gasses will tell you the extreme cold requires special protection equipment. The average house wife isn't going to be able handle it safely. Even the smallest spill on flesh will cause a significant injury. There has already been a significant explosion with a high pressure hydrogen fueling station. When something goes wrong with this fuel is goes wrong in a fast ans big way. Besides it takes 4-5 times more energy to go a mile in a hydrogen powered car then it does in an electric car.
     
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