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Winter Testing Moves Mercedes Closer to Limited Series Production of Fuel Cell B-Class in 2010

The B-Class undergoing comprehensive low-temperature testing in Sweden on its road to production in 2010.

Mercedes continues to move closer to its planned launch of limited series production of the B-Class F-Cell fuel cell drive vehicle in early 2010. The B-Class with fuel cell drive just passed its winter testing in northern Sweden, under double-digit, below-zero temperatures.

Cold start behavior was subjected to thorough scrutiny. Although Daimler Research had already found a technical solution to the fuel cell’s start capability at -25 degrees Celsius, the engineers’ focus here was on the interaction between the different components under real-life winter conditions.

A further focus of the winter tests was on roadholding. This meant adapting the Electronic Stability Program (ESP) to the special requirements of a fuel-cell vehicle. A special feature in this context is that an electric motor exhibits different speed governing behaviour to that of standard combustion engines.

The results of the winter tests proved that we are on the right track with this innovative drive concept and have taken another important step on the road to reaching production standard. As with the standard test programmes for conventional vehicles, we will be subjecting the B-Class F-Cell to further rigorous testing over the next few months.

—Dr. Thomas Weber, Daimler AG board member with responsibility for Research and Development at Mercedes-Benz Cars

The B-Class F-Cell is powered by a new generation of fuel-cell drive based on the optimized fuel-cell system in the F 600 HYGENIUS research vehicle that Mercedes-Benz presented in 2005 (earlier post).

The new compact fuel-cell system operates much more efficiently than previous generations. The newly designed stack is roughly 40% smaller, yet generates 30% greater power along with a 16% reduction in hydrogen consumption compared to the F-Cell A-Class.

As introduced in the F 600 HYGENIUS (which combines the fuel cell with a lithium-ion battery pack in a hybrid architecture), the stack generated constant power output of 60 kW (82 hp) and 250 Nm torque. The full F 600 hybrid powertrain delivered maximum power output of 85 kW (115 hp) and a peak torque of 350 Nm.

The new system in the B-Class also demonstrates a good cold start capability, thanks to innovations such as the electric turbocharger for air supply, and the new humidification and demisting system.

The electric motor in the new B-Class F-Cell develops maximum output of 100 kW (136 hp) and a maximum torque of 320 Nm (236 lb-ft)—approximately the standards of a two-liter gasoline engine. The zero-emission fuel-cell drive uses the equivalent of 2.9 liters of diesel fuel per 100 kilometers.

With 700-bar pressurized tanks for hydrogen storage, the B-Class F-Cell will have a range of more than 400 km (249 miles).

Daimler AG’s fuel-cell fleet has now covered around 3.8 million zero-emission kilometers, giving the company more data, expertise and experience than any other manufacturer. With approximately 100 vehicles, it currently operates the largest fuel-cell vehicle fleet in the world, comprising concept vehicles, passenger cars, vans and Citaro city buses.


Brad Godfrey

take it to saskatchewan, we'll test it in -40 degrees(C and F, it's the same), that'll give it a run for it's money


2.9 L/100Kms equivalent diesel fuel, that's 15% better than the diesel/hybrid golf WW presented a couple weeks ago on this web site (for the same range of power). And they probably don't count the energy required to compressed hydrogen to 700 bars which represent a significant chunk of energy. A Golf turbo diesel PEHV would offer a much better overwhole well to wheel efficiency while being also zero emission most of the time. So...


Hello treehugger... do they intend to make that golf far better in just a few years like fuel cell companies intend to improve fuel cells? No.

The fact a fuel cell car does that well this early is amazing whwn you realize just how much better it will be in just 8 years. Also im fairly sure this is a bit bigger then a golf.


too bad this car isn't sold in the states, fuel cells or not.


Hi Wintermane

That's quite clear they are making progress on fuel cell but we had perfect electric engine for more than 100 years and still no electric car on the road... A perfect fuel cell doesn't tell us where to get H2 in large quantities to transport it to the station and to store it safely into our car, and where you get the trillion US$ to build an H2 infrastructure in a country ruined by a depressed currency, a financial crisis, a war to finance, a healthcare spending turned crazy, an unncontrolled trade deficit and a national debt that is becoming morbidly obese and last but not least an upcoming energy crisis that we are not prepared to face.

Can they make the diesel better ? yes using ceramics, better injectors, maybe scudderi configuration, or otto diesel like Mercedes is doing, or reactor to reform the exhaust.
The progresses made by the diesel engine these 25 past years are incredible and will keep going. Nobody thought that a diesel would win the 24Hrs race of LeMans 10 years ago, when do you think a fuel cell will do so ???

I remember 25 years ago when everybody was betting that Gallium Arsenide will Kick Out Silicon from micro-electronics, it never happened, but exactly the opposite indeed.

The only way I see fuel cell emerging in car is using a reformer and ethanol as a fuel, or a direct fuel cell, but the efficiency is lower and this no longer strictly zero emission (as a result nobody is pursuing this approach) then the question is : is it cleaner than a ICE natural gaz powered car ? So we might have nice fuel cell powered car in the future but no H2 to fill the tank...

Rafael Seidl

@ treehugger -

sanity has nothing to do with it, California's ZEV mandate flat out requires any manufacturer that sells more than 60,000 units a year to sell a small number of true zero (tailpipe) emissions vehicles. PZEVs, AT-PZEVs and all the rest of them can reduce that number, but not to zero.

@ Brad Godfrey -

the thermometer never drops to 40 below in California. Not even close. This isn't some adolescent Nanook of the North competition, it's just intended to meet the ZEV mandate - no more, no less.

Stan Peterson


I suspect that the FCEV mandate from CARB may just be a "standard" that the auto makers may choose to defy. Most do not have the surplus to invest in indefensible desires on the part of CARBite true-believers.

It seems clear to me that CARB will be forced to back down if there are other ZEV technologies available, be they HEV, PHEV, BEV that simply bypass the FCEV technology as a technological dead-end.


You can use the earth to compress hydrogen. More precisely, running two cables down into the ocean 10,000 feet and supplying the cable with wind powered elecrtricity, thereby producing hydrogen from the ocean at a pressure of 4454 psi. The hydrogen would be collected at depth and piped, at a collection pressure of 4454 psi, up to a surface collection station and further into existing high pressure gas distribution infrastructures.

Rafael Seidl

@ Stan Peterson -

CARB already lets you meet the "gold" portion of the ZEV credits system using either BEVs or FCVs. It's just that back when Mercedes embarked on the HYGENIUS project some number of years ago, it looked like a more promising avenue than batteries. They apparently decided it's better to see it through than to abandon it at this late stage, though I suspect it will be mothballed for lack of hydrogen fueling stations.

Meanwhile, Mercedes has made parallel investments in Li-ion R&D. The packs they will source from Continental are tied in to the vehicle's A/C system to ensure longevity. No word yet on a pure BEV, but BMW would apparently like to collaborate with Mercedes on developing one.

Btw: the ZEV mandate is set up such that failure to meet the quotas entails fines so high that companies could no longer operate profitably in CA, NY and the other states that follow CARB emissions. Together, they represent roughly 1/3 of the total US market.

Rafael Seidl

@ JB -

I'm afraid your idea has one fatal flaw: if anything goes wrong with your electrolysis plant 10,000ft down, you're hosed.

Btw, CH2G tanks for vehicles are at 700 bar (~10,000 psi) pressure.


When I first saw this story I recalled the term "water management" from my PEM readings. At -40f/c, a cup of water tossed out would probably freeze before it hit the ground. Now that is a real water management issue.

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