## California-to-Canada Road Tour is Finale for Daimler’s A-Class F-CELL; B-Class F-CELL Due to Customers by End of 2009

##### 26 May 2009
 A cutaway model of the future B-Class F-CELL. Click to enlarge.

Daimler’s A-Class F-CELL hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle will cap five years of road trials in the US with its participation in the California to Canada Hydrogen Road Tour 09 (earlier post). The recently converted A-Class F-CELL “plus” with 700 bar technology will participate in the tour along with hydrogen-powered vehicles from other automakers. The new 700 bar technology extends the range in the current vehicle generation by about 70%.

A fleet of 30 A-Class F-CELL vehicles has been in daily use on public roads in the US since 2004. The program includes fleet and infrastructure trials supported by the states of California and Michigan. After the tour, the A-Class F-CELL will be replaced by Daimler’s next generation of fuel cell vehicles: the B-Class F-CELL (earlier post), Daimler’s first fuel cell vehicle produced in a small volume series, but under full series development processes.

 The A-Class F-CELL in Iceland. Click to enlarge.

The B-Class F-CELL is a Compact Sports Tourer which will be introduced to customers by the end of 2009 and is more powerful and efficient than the A-Class F-CELL.

Based on the optimized more compact fuel cell system presented by Mercedes-Benz in its F 600 HYGENIUS research vehicle in 2005 (earlier post), the newly designed stack module is around 40% smaller, but develops 30% more power output and cuts fuel consumption by 16%. The system, featuring innovations electric turbocharger for air supply and the new humidification/dehumidification system, also has favorable cold-starting ability. The B-Class F-CELL, which also features a Li-ion battery pack, will have an operating range of about 250 miles (402 km) per tank filling.

The electric motor develops a peak output of 100 kW (136 hp) and a maximum torque of 320 N·m (236 lb-ft). The B-Class F-CELL meets requirements regarding driving dynamics that are above the level of a two-liter gasoline vehicle. The emission-free fuel cell drive system of this compact family car has a diesel-equivalent consumption rating of 2.9 L/100km (97 mpg US).

Daimler says that fuel cell technology is key to emission-free driving in the future, as it is the only emission-free technology equally suited for both short and long distance mobility. Underlining its commitment to the technology, Daimler will release the first near-serially produced fuel cell vehicles to customers as early as 2010. The company expects marketability as early as 2015.

The nine-day Road Tour 09 will cover more than 1,800 miles and stop in 28 communities before arriving in Vancouver, British Columbia on June 3. The tour is showcasing the progress of hydrogen programs in the US and is organized by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP), Powertech Labs, the National Hydrogen Association and the US Fuel Cell Council.

Daimler’s first fuel-cell drive concept went public in 1994 with the introduction of Necar 1, which was followed by 20 additional prototypes. With the introduction of the A-Class F-CELL in 2003, Daimler presented the world’s first pre-production series vehicle. In 2007, an F-CELL A-Class reached 100,000 miles and 2,500 operating hours without stack repair or replacement.

### Comments

I think it is a shame that they went away from the NECAR methanol reformer to 700 bar H2, but that was their choice to make. Methanol can be made cheaply and the reformer did not seem overly complex nor expensive.

I'm not sure this statement is true: "Daimler says fuel cell technology... is the only emission-free technology equally suited for both short and long distance mobility."

By 'emission-free', the author must mean at the tailpipe. By 'short and long distance mobility', the author must mean hydrogen is a conveniently refillable fuel available at service stations, as opposed to batteries which require a longer length of time for recharging or swapping batteries.

Hydrogen is also 'emission-free' as a combustable fuel in a hybrid drive train, and may be the better application. If hydrogen is limited to fuel cell applications, then the development of other combustable fuels and bio-fuels may be regrettably bypassed. Why limit the choice of future fuel to hydrogen?

If I were in California I'd be running for the border, too. Is this California's last hurrah before they board up and sell themselves to China?

If you did a compressed air range extended EV, you would have no pollution and long range. You just have to have air compressors that can do 3000 psi every 100 miles or so.

"I think it is a shame that they went away from the NECAR methanol reformer to 700 bar H2, but that was their choice to make. Methanol can be made cheaply and the reformer did not seem overly complex nor expensive."

Maybe they did so because with methanol the total W2W efficiency is lower?

"If you did a compressed air range extended EV, you would have no pollution and long range."

Yes, and for just a tiny bit of pollution you could get a much great range extention by heating the compressed air with some biofuel.- http://www.mdi.lu/english/

I kind of prefer the no combustion method, but it IS a good idea.

Before you all start flapping around remember they are using a VERY old fuel cell stack design that was used in a research car 4 years ago and thus is about 5-6 years old along side a fuel tank that is about as old a design.

Id imagine most current fuel cell stacks would stomp it.

As for emmissions free... they get that because of the way bevs are catagorized;/

I do not recall anyone flapping.

Instead of naming it the HYGENIUS,
they could have named it the HYPERBOLE :-)

"I kind of prefer the no combustion method,"

As do I, however the engine from MDI is both duel mode and multifuel. This means you could have an BEV with enough battery power for your daily commute and an air powered range extender for a 100 miles of 'just-in-case.'

Now if you want to go farther you've got options; you could set out and stop every 100 miles for a quick, non-polluting, refill of air -- or you could pack a small tank of whatever low-carbon fuel is available in your area and not stop until your legs cramp. Your choice.

I will take the 100 mile leg stretch, but thanks for your concern.

"Hydrogen is also 'emission-free' as a combustable fuel in a hybrid drive train"

No, not only do you have NOx-Emissions from the combustion, you also have emissions from the oil/lubrication.

H2 ice cars do manage to get into the zev catagory which is all they needed to do to win a spot mid term.

@wintermane2000
"H2 ice cars do manage to get into the zev catagory which is all they needed to do to win a spot mid term."

I think they have the "silver+" spot, so it's the same level with PHEVs, but there's relatively little development for hydrogen ICE. The only one I see promising for a decent amount of volume is the Mazda Premacy. I'm pretty sure PHEVs will still be the ones in the most volume, they seem to be the most cost effective and practical out of all the ZEV options (though if Ford really comes out with a ~$30k BEV Focus and/or if Nissan really comes out with a Cube-sized ~$20-30k BEV with ~100 miles of range then it starts becoming a harder choice).

A F-CELL A-Class getting over 100k miles is pretty decent. Maybe they will be able to hit the 150k milestone in the future.

All they need is enough zev miles to avoid congestion charges and that alone will make em sell in places with high congestion charges.

All the class are nice but i personally wanna try the B class first. So i want to know how much you charge for this. Lastly i went to US Las Vegas and i buy an ATV because i love the ATV ride there.
You can see the tour operates website at best las vegas tours

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