Alongside constant optimisation of conventional motors, BMW has long been conducting basic research on the use of new energy sources and drive systems having significant advantages with respect to emission levels and availability of resources. Electricity stored in batteries or in the form of hydrogen hold considerable promise in the long term. During the present decade, electrically powered cars come into question for short runs; these are characterised by higher efficiency if certain conditions relating to the overall energy balance are met. Significantly greater action radii are possibly only with liquid hydrogen. Although the engineering questions and factors such as storage, safety, and handling can be regarded as basically solved, use of hydrogen-powered vehicles will initially be in niche areas because of the lack of infrastructure. Hybrid systems to compensate for battery risks and charged with natural gas stored in gaseous (CNG) or liquid form (LNG) will serve important pioneering functions. BMW will market natural gas-driven vehicles from the end of 1995.
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