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BMW will lease its hydrogen cars

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Eager to put its stamp on cars with green credentials, BMW announced that it rolled out the world’s first hydrogen-burning car in serial production early this year.

Dubbed the Hydrogen 7, the specially equipped 7-Series executive cars emit only water vapor when running on hydrogen. That means zero emissions of pollutants and carbon dioxide, a gas that many scientists tie to global warming.

“The complete change from a fossil fuel infrastructure to a hydrogen economy will require decades,” the German carmaker said in a statement, but the Hydrogen 7 “shows that bringing hydrogen technology to the road is indeed feasible.”

The car hit the market in April and will be shown at the Los Angeles car show in November, BMW said. It had said in March that the hydrogen cars would arrive within two years.

A spokesman said the car would be leased to selected customers rather than sold because of its high price. Leasing rates would be similar to those for a top-end BMW 760LI with a full-service package but BMW said specifics were not yet available.

“We have not yet finalized this,” said BMW North America spokesman Andreas Klugescheid. “It will depend on the region the car goes to, the infrastructure, the service package and the profile of the user.”

California could be a key market for BMW since Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is trying to build a “hydrogen highway” of refueling stations along major roads.

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