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Mercedes-Benz’ GLC F-CELL fuel-cell plug-in hybrid SUV coming in 2017

13 June 2016

Daimler will introduce a series-production fuel-cell plug-in hybrid—the Mercedes-Benz GLC F-CELL—in 2017. (Earlier post.)

The GLC F-CELL features a ~9 kWh lithium-ion battery pack combined with a new fuel cell stack developed in Vancouver, Canada together with partner Ford in the Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation (AFCC) joint venture. The combination of fuel cell and battery system—along with a further developed intelligent operating strategy—will offer a combined range of around 500 km (311 miles) in the NEDC.



Daimler has extensive experience with fuel cell vehicles. The B-Class F-CELL and the Citaro FuelCELL-Hybrid urban bus have together now clocked up in excess of 12 million kilometers (7.5 million miles), demonstrating that the drive concept is ready for market.

Working together with partners from its global competence network, Daimler AG has developed an all-new fuel-cell system. Around 30% more compact than previously, it can be fully housed in the engine compartment for the first time.

The fuel cell developers have also further optimised the performance and operating range. Furthermore, the cost of the technology has been slashed due largely to a 90% reduction in the amount of platinum used in the stack. From 2017, Daimler will be unveiling the new-generation fuel-cell technology based on the Mercedes-Benz GLC.

The Mercedes-Benz fuel cell system. The new generation of fuel cell system is poised for series production. The size of the drive unit has been reduced by 30%, allowing it to be accommodated within the engine compartment of existing vehicle architectures. Click to enlarge.

The 9 kWh battery pack is housed at the rear of the SUV to save space. It allows the GLC F-CELL to run on purely battery-electric power for up to 50 km (31 miles) in the NEDC and can be conveniently charged at a standard household socket, a Mercedes-Benz wall box or a public charging station.

Two carbon-fiber-encased tanks built into the vehicle floor hold around 4 kg of hydrogen. With the globally standardized 700-bar tank technology, the tank in the GLC F-CELL can be refilled at a hydrogen filling station within just three minutes—about the same amount of time it takes to refuel a car with an internal combustion engine.

The system also features a recuperation function, which allows energy to be recuperated and stored in the battery during braking and coasting phases.

The stack is produced in the at Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell (MBFC). Overall responsibility for the complete fuel-cell-drive assembly and the hydrogen storage system is developed from the Daimler subsidiary NuCellSys in Kirchheim/Nabern, Baden-Württemberg.

The Daimler strain plant Untertürkheim is responsible for an establishment for the fuel cell system installation, also at the location Nabern. The hydrogen tank system consisting of carbon-fiber-encased tanks is produced at the Daimler Mannheim plant while the lithium-ion battery comes from Daimler subsidiary Deutsche ACCUMOTIVE located in Kamenz, Saxony.

Daimler is currently working systematically to prepare for series production of the Mercedes-Benz GLC F-CELL. The SUV is produced at the Mercedes-Benz Bremen plant, which acts as the competence center for the model series. The GLC has been rolling off the production line there since July 2015. Regarding to the drive system integration of the GLC F-CELL, the partner EDAG supports the Bremen factory.

June 13, 2016 in Fuel Cells, Hydrogen, Plug-ins | Permalink | Comments (15)


This FC-PHEV is a good compromise.

Depending on battery size, it could drive around town as a BEV most of the time, while being recharge by the onboard FC on longer trips.

I'm glad to see Mercedes take a more pragmatic approach, but 27 miles of AER does not really solve the fundamental problem.

Harvey, in your case this car uses two fuels unavailable to you.

Its good to see the first plug in FCEV, a configuration I have long advocated.

Over the next few years the German and Scandinavian networks are being built out enough so that it will be possible to get anywhere using hydrogen, with a plug meaning that less stations will be needed and so knocking out the whole notion of the supposedly unaffordable cost of infrastructure.

Similarly eviscerated is the canard about the supposedly far greater efficiency of batteries.

In spite of the small size of hydrogen molecules the leakage rate from CF tanks is tiny, and unlike gasoline it does not sour, so that in a Volt-like configuration it would be available for long trips.

Fast charging an electric car away from home is also a very expensive proposition, although subsidies and
Tesla's notion of theoretically adding the cost on to the purchase price of the car disguise that to a large degree.

No business model has been established for fast charging, whereas hydrogen stations run in exactly the same way as a gasoline station, and are being built on the same premises.

A Fuel Cell PHEV uses one electric motor, and does not kludge together a combustion engine with high temperature exhaust etc and an electric car.

Zero pollution at point of use, and no need for a massive battery as in a long distance BEV make for a very attractive approach, so why some are so determindly anti FCEVs escapes me.

The FC-PHEV winds up under the same pressure as the IC-PHEV:  the FC part and its fuel system is costly and constrains the rest of the vehicle.  As batteries improve the FC part becomes increasingly undesirable compared to a bigger battery.

The real problem with the FCEV is that it's part and parcel of a political (not technical) push to an "all-renewable economy".  Hydrogen is the only possible storage medium to handle the feast-or-famine availability of wind and solar, and the people behind it have taken the hydrogen hammer and decided everything looks like a nail.  Issues like e.g. the pitiful presence of a couple of dozen H2 stations in the entire state of California, compared to literally millions of outlets which can feed PEVs, are simply ignored.

If we don't need energy storage on the scale of seasons, the hydrogen fixation makes no sense.  That opens things up much wider, and it turns out that hydrogen makes little or no sense period.


I'm not sure what relevance nuclear reactors they are not building in the West have to the future of transport in the next 20 years.

The only way to make a society very high in renewables work, which is what we are actually trying to do and what we are really building, is to have lots of storage in chemicals, hydrogen or its derivatives.

That you and I both would prefer a big nuclear build is neither here nor there.

The same innumerates who opposed nuclear build are also trying to sabotage the only conceivable way of making renewables actually work.

The alternative to nuclear is a crapload of fossil fuels; hype-drogen is the matador's cape, an illusory target.  The real question is, why is it so hard to get the public to grasp this?


Power to gas is working just fine:

And your dismissal out of hand of umpteen technologies for, for instance, solar to hydrogen is not supportable - you seem to be confounding your assumptions with proven facts.

And for lifetime costs and emissions, here is Argonne's assessment:

Note that they assume for their longer time horizon only $125 kwh, and a 200 mile BEV still costs way more than an FCEV.

Power to gas is working just fine

Not one word about cost per unit.  30% losses just in conversion to H2 (33.6/0.7=48 kWh/kg input).  The press release does mention that the next step is methane synthesis.  Converting 4 H2 + CO2 to CH4 + 2 H2O takes 0.5 kg of H2 (24 kWH) to produce 1 kg of CH4 with a LHV of 50 MJ (13.89 kWh); if 62% of that is recoverable in a CCGT, the net efficiency is about 36%.  No word on what it costs to lose 2/3 of your input energy.

If you burn the E-gas in a car's ICE at 33% efficiency your output is about 4.6 kWh, less than 20% of the input energy.  These schemes are toys for the rich.

your dismissal out of hand of umpteen technologies for, for instance, solar to hydrogen is not supportable

If these people had an energy system that can support a competitive industrial economy, they would be trumpeting it to the skies.  They are completely silent on that issue, and I'm certain it's because they'd be liable for fraud if they explicitly made such claims.  When they release information on the economics they do it in whispers.

The whole thing is a huge scam being conducted right out in the open, Dave.  There are no secret solutions, and they don't claim to have any; everything is expressed in "hopes" and "goals" that nobody can be held liable for failing to meet.

Note that they assume for their longer time horizon only $125 kwh

Tesla will beat $100/kWh soon.  A $6000 battery in a Model 3, driven 120,000 miles over 10 years @ a generous 350 Wh/mi and 15¢/kWH, costs $12,300 for battery and energy.  Your conversion from electricity to storable methane at 57% efficiency, followed by SMR back to H2 at a generous 77% efficiency, and consumed in an FCEV at 60% efficiency has a throughput efficiency of 26%.  That powertrain can't offset the huge energy losses in the system even if you get it for free—for every kWh delivered to the wheels, you lose almost 3 in the handling.  Figuring 1.3 kWh/mile input and 10¢/kWh average cost of electricity, the energy alone is going to cost you $15,600 over 120,000 miles.

The power-to-gas schemes just don't pencil out, can't you see?  They're a scam.  The whole point is to keep the fossil fuel companies in the running.


Wherever you got your figure for Tesla's battery costs from, you sure did not get them from their accounts, as they ain't there.

If you want wild claims about the future, and massively uneconomic present production, Tesla is your boy.

'If these people had an energy system that can support a competitive industrial economy, they would be trumpeting it to the skies.'

Clearly, nothing is fully competitive with ICE right now, and that includes BEVs in spades.

The link I provided certainly did mention costs, you seem to have skimmed right past it.

They indicated it is competitive for peak shaving.

The present article is about a PHEV FCEV, and for that the conversion losses you have dredged up by ignoring all avenues of progress whilst assuming massive gains for your favourite, BEVs, would be entirely supportable, as they would only have to cover long distance travel, and would compete with the additional 75kwh or so in a worthwhile battery pack for long distance travel, not the initial 10-15 kwh, and fuelling costs would be against the true, unsubsidised price of away from home charging, not the far cheaper at home rate.

Wherever you got your figure for Tesla's battery costs from

Tesla's cost is headed below $100/kWh in the near term as the Gigafactory ramps up.  There are things Tesla can't say itself until there are more "facts on the ground", but others can.

Clearly, nothing is fully competitive with ICE right now

Stop changing the subject.  The subject is power-to-gas, either for grid backup or FCEV.  The competition for FCEV is BEV.

The link I provided certainly did mention costs

Only mention of costs here is €1.5m "investment", and its reported real-life efficiency figure leads to the inescapable conclusion that the effort is a scam.  I am not going through an 8.5 MB PDF to show how it is no different.

the conversion losses you have dredged up by ignoring all avenues of progress whilst assuming massive gains for your favourite, BEVs, would be entirely supportable
  • BEV, $12,300 over 120k miles.
  • FCEV, $15,600 over 120k miles plus FC powertrain.
  • 30 MPG ICEV, $12,000 @ $3.00/gallon over 120k miles plus ICE powertrain.

At $100/kWH or less, higher gasoline prices make the BEV cheaper than the ICEV.  The FCEV is not competitive if it has to run on RE, period.  It can only compete if it has cheap hydrogen from SMR or gasified coal.

There's also the detail that the <$100/kWh battery from Tesla is probably arriving in the next 2 years.  That closes the window of opportunity for FCEVs, which still won't have anything like Telsa's charger network to support long-distance travel.  Since the alleged POINT of FCEVs is to facilitate long-distance travel, and they will not be usable for that until a great deal more infrastructure gets built, they are unfit for purpose.  The FCEV is toast.  The only thing keeping it alive is government research money and mandates, meaning oil-company lobbying.

E-P is partly right and wrong.

Tesla Model S-100+ with 100+ kWh battery pack may supply close to 300 miles good weather range but will take 30 to 60 minutes to recharge at quick charge facilities. This could be acceptable where a decent lunch place is co-located.

Secondly, the upgraded Model S100+ or S110+ could raise the average unit cost over $100K (USD) or $130+K (CAN).

The solution may be with the Model III equipped with 120 kWh to 150 kWh quick charge battery pack. Unfortunately, that boasted Model III may not be available till 2025/2027 or so and the price could also be above $100K.

Equivalent all weather, very quick (4 minutes) refill FCEVs are available at about half that price (and going down). New FC-PHEVs by/from EU, Japan and So-Korea manufacturers will hit the market place by 2020/2022.

The availability and price of H2 will also be addressed (specially in many EU countries, Japan, So-Korea and California + Oregon + Washington + BC) by 2020 or so.
Local H2 (roaming) distribution trucks may soon offer to refill your FCEV at your home, much the same way as Heating Oil, US POST and FEDEX +++ do it. A UBER like iPhone application is being developed.

FCs with liquid feed stocks and on board reformer may solve the H2 availability by 2020/2022?

Harvey, as an innumerate you are in no position to make claims about other people's veracity.  If you were, you would have compared the maximum hydro potential of Quebec and the maritimes against regional continental consumption BEFORE you sounded off about it.

You may be right and wrong again.

Only Quebec and Labrador have substantial Hydro and Wind potential, in the 4 maritime provinces.

Baffin Island could be added but you would be outside the 4 maritime provinces.

Northern Quebec and most of Labrador have not yet fully exploited their Hydro and Wind potential.

Some of the many thousand mega-watts currently sold below average cost, to Aluminum factories on a 24/7 basis, could eventually be redirected to BEVs-PHEVs-FCEVs and H2 stations. The current flat rates could be replaced with variable rates based on grid loading factors. Off peak load rates could be very low to help to steady the average consumption.

An informed (unbiased) E-P should know that.

British Columbia has substantial hydro resources as well; I've drive past some of them.  But I wouldn't expect an ideologue like you to concern yourself with facts.

As usual, you quantify nothing and perform no analysis to see if resources are remotely comparable to needs.  I wish that such debates had to be conducted within courts of inquiry, with rules of evidence that explicitly forbade such handwaving.  This would get rid of the BS and get to the nitty-gritty; BSers would be penalized under contempt of court provisions, and barred from participation.

Right and wrong again!

One has to be a good distance south of the border to confuse BC with the 4 maritimes provinces (NS-PEI-NB-NFL. They are about 4,000 Km apart.

However, you are right about unexploited BC Hydro & Wind potential. Much remains to be harnessed there too.

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