BMW has built the first of their Hydrogen 7 cars for public use, and handed the first set of keys over to U.S. funny-man, Will Ferrell. 25 of the first 100 cars will be handed out to celebrities in order to promote their hydrogen cars in a predictable PR stunt that we just walked straight into. Another 25 will be used for evaluation purposes and testing.
Other lucky celebrities include Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Fox Entertainment Chairman Peter Liguori, Richard Gere, Sharon Stone and An Inconvenient Truth producer, Davis Guggenheim, as well as more unusual names like German Federal Minister for Economy and Technology, Gunter Verheugen.
The Hydrogen 7 doesn’t use a fuel cell, but a normal ICE engine which can run on either hydrogen or gasoline. When running on Hydrogen the only emissions are water vapour. However, there is a long tail-pipe problem as with electric cars, in that producing the hydrogen uses a large amount of energy. In truth, these cars will do little to reduce the emissions of daily transport, but will at least create cleaner air for cyclists and pedestrians.
There are also problems with transporting and storing the hydrogen fuel, as mentioned in a Wired test-drive review, “Hydrogen’s high flammability, compared to other fuel mixes, raises concern for many (especially for me while standing next to the fuel pumps). The Hindenburg and the Challenger both ran on hydrogen.”
TREEHUGGER: More Hydrogren, Less Cowbell