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» The BMW H2R Record Car

BMW has heralded the age of the hydrogen-powered production car by setting nine world records with its groundbreaking H2R Record Car. Using an adapted version of the 6.0-litre 12-cylinder engine taken from the BMW 760i, the aerodynamically efficient carbon fibre-bodied H2R posted the results following one intensive day of testing at the Miramas Proving Ground in the south of France.

The successful record attempts have proved to be particularly poignant because this was a major hurdle to overcome before a production version of a hydrogen-powered car could be offered for sale by BMW. In its quest for glory, the H2R attained world best times and speeds for a hydrogen-powered car in the flying-start kilometre, flying-start mile, standing-start 1/8 mile, standing-start ¼ mile, standing-start ½ kilometre, standing-start mile, standing-start 10 miles, standing-start kilometre and standing-start 10 kilometres. To comply with the regulations of the record attempts, the H2R remained in hydrogen-only mode for the duration.

The H2R was the ideal test bed for the forthcoming hydrogen-powered 7 Series as it pushed the envelope of what had previously been thought possible with such a dual fuel vehicle. However, some significant changes had to be made to the engine in the standard 760i to make a hydrogen-powered one viable.

Unlike the petrol engine where fuel is injected directly into the combustion chambers, the injection valves on the hybrid car are integrated into the inlet manifolds. The different combustion characteristics of a hydrogen-powered car demanded this, along with special valves. An air-cooling process for each cylinder, designed to prevent the next injection of hydrogen/air mix from igniting too soon in the combustion process (because of the higher temperature generated by burning hydrogen) was also devised.

To aid this complex breathing process, BMW’s renowned Bi-VANOS and VALVETRONIC units ensured the optimum timing process of the engine for the greatest efficiency. The engine technology in the H2R Record Car enables delivery of 232bhp and a zero to 62mph time of six seconds with a top speed of 187.62mph.

“We had just 10 months to develop the H2R prototype,” said Jurgen Kubler, H2R Project Manager. “But the great results have now proved the level of performance possible from a hydrogen-powered car and the launch of the world’s first dual fuel version of the current generation 7 Series will follow in due course.”

The H2R Record Car will take a bow at the forthcoming Paris Motor Show alongside some other notable new models on the BMW stand. The BMW M5, 320Cd Convertible, 5 Series Sport, 630i, X3 2.0d and the 1 Series will all be exhibited at a motor show for the first time.

» H2R records: Time in sec: Speed in mph:
» Flying-start kilometre: 11.99 187.62
» Flying-start mile: 19.91 181.85
» Standing-start 1/8 kilometre: 9.92 45.62
» Standing-start ¼ kilometre: 14.93 60.62
» Standing-start ½ mile: 17.27 65.15
» Standing-start mile: 36.73 163.81
» Standing-start 10 miles: 221.05 163.81
» Standing-start kilometre: 26.56 84.72


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