Today it was announced by the BMW Group that the BMW Hydrogen 7 luxury automobile will roll out as a lease vehicle in both the USA and Germany in April 2007. The BMW Hydrogen 7 is being touted as the world’s first hydrogen luxury performance car.
The BMW Hydrogen 7 is a dual-fuel vehicle, which can switch back and forth between hydrogen and gasoline with the push of a button. As a dual-fuel vehicle the BMW Hydrogen 7 solves a major problem, in that a hydrogen infrastructure does not have to be built before the car can roll out.
Drivers of the BMW Hydrogen 7 will be able to use the gasoline tank with a 300-mile range and fuel up with hydrogen as stations are being built in the U. S. and Germany. To date, California has 23 hydrogen fueling stations with a handful of stations in other states as well, including New York, Michigan, Washington D. C. and Florida.
Germany had set up hydrogen fueling stations in Berlin to fuel hydrogen buses for the FIFA World Cup Soccer Tournament in June 2006 and is building the first public hydrogen fueling station in Munich, set to go live in 2007.
With this announcement, BMW has drawn a line in the sand and has challenged the other major automakers to get in gear with their hydrogen car programs. Seeing how the other groups respond will be very enlightening (and possibly entertaining).