DaimlerChrysler is introducing its latest research vehicle, the F 600 HYGENIUS hydrogen fuel cell hybrid, at the upcoming Tokyo show.
DaimlerChrysler introduced the preceding research vehicle, the diesel hybrid F500 MIND (earlier post), at the Tokyo show two years ago.
The F600 fuel cell powertrain has a maximum power output of 85 kW (115 hp) and a peak torque of 350 Nm. The fuel cell—which is around 40% more compact than previously—itself generates constant power output of 60 kW (82 hp) and 250 Nm torque.
The HYGENIUS uses a lithium-ion battery pack to store surplus energy. The drive system functions as a hybrid, selecting the best power source depending upon the driving situation. Under low speed for parking and maneuvering, for example, the motor draws its power from the battery alone. Under acceleration, both fuel cell and battery feed the motor in unison. Regenerative braking recharges the battery pack.
The F 600 is DaimlerCHrysler’s first research vehicle to incorporate a bodywork and design concept that has been purpose-developed for the fuel cell. The drive technology, the high-voltage battery and the hydrogen tank have all been housed beneath the passenger cell, while the high-torque electric motor—also a new development—has been integrated into the rear-axle carrier.
The compact-class car has an operating range in excess of 400 kilometers (249 miles).
DaimlerChrysler points out that the fuel cell could also serve as a mobile power source, its 66 kW of electrical power being sufficient to keep several detached houses supplied with power, although it stops short of a discussion of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) applications.
(The designers are beginning to explore the cabin-comfort aspects of electrical power. For example, the cup holder use electrical power from the fuel cell to keep drinks chilled or hot.)
Cameras integrated into the housings of the exterior mirrors keep an eye on traffic to the side of and behind the F 600 HYGENIUS, even when it is parked. If another car or a bicycle is approaching from behind, the system will automatically disable the doors for a brief period to avoid the risk of a collision when they are opened. Out on the road, the video system monitors the blind spot of both exterior mirrors and warns drivers about to change lane if a vehicle is approaching from behind.
As in the Mercedes-Benz S Class flagship model, buttons in a control panel in the middle of the dashboard serve to operate the most commonly used systems, such as the radio, air conditioning, car phone and navigation. These buttons can be easily reached by both the driver and the front passenger.
The push/turn control knob in the center of the control panel automatically detects whether it is being operated by the driver or the front passenger, enabling both to program their personal climate control settings. This intelligent user recognition facility is based on the electrical signals transmitted in the skin: the instant the front passenger touches the push/turn control knob in the centre, a data circuit closes between the control knob and a sensor mat in the seat cushion, switching the display to the settings for the front passenger side.
The HYGENIUS offers virtual displays of the high-resolution colour displays in the dashboard. Diverted by means of two mirrors, the images are projected to appear at a point 1.40 metres in front of the driver.
(A hat-tip to David Thomas and mph!)