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Mercedes-Benz to Launch Limited Series Production of B Class F-CELL Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle Late This Year

Bclass-fcell
The Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL at the OMV hydrogen filling station at Stuttgart Airport. (The fuel price is €0.9/100g.) Click to enlarge.

Mercedes-Benz is launching its first series-produced fuel cell car: the new B-Class F-CELL. (Earlier post.) The electric-drive car has performance similar to a 2.0-liter gasoline car and is suited for everyday driving, Mercedes says. The zero-emission drive system consumes the equivalent of 3.3 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers (71.3 mpg US) in the NEDC (New European Driving Cycle).

Production of the B-Class F-CELL will commence in late 2009 with a small lot. The first of around 200 vehicles will be delivered to customers in Europe and the USA at the beginning of next year.

Bclass-fcell2
Progress from A-Class to B-Class hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Source: Daimler. Click to enlarge.

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 80 kW stack module in the B-Class F-CELL is around 40% smaller, but develops 30% more power output and cuts fuel consumption by 16% compared to the A-Class stack. Stack lifetime has increased to more than 2,000 hours.

The system, featuring innovations such as an electric turbocharger for air supply and the new humidification/dehumidification system, also has favorable cold-starting ability even at temperatures as low as -25 °C (-13 °F).

Mercedes-Benz’ Position on EVs
Mercedes-Benz’ stated position is that the development of electric cars with battery and fuel cell drives for local zero-emission driving is a means of supplementing vehicles with high-tech internal combustion engines
Advanced diesel and gasoline engines will remain important for automotive applications for a long time to come—not only for individual mobility in passenger cars, especially over long distances—but, more importantly, for freight transport in trucks.
Electric vehicles, on the other hand, will increasingly be used in urban transport, according to the company.
Mercedes-AMG, the performance brand within Mercedes-Benz Cars, is developing a battery electric version of its upcoming SLS AMG sportscar, now in vehicle testing. (Earlier post.)
Daimler AG earlier this year took a stake in Tesla Motors. (Earlier post.)

The electric motor has a continuous / peak performance of 70 kW / 100 kW (94 hp / 136 hp) and a maximum torque of 290 N·m (214 lb-ft). Range (NEDC) is 385 km (239 miles) and refuelling time is about three minutes. The fuel-cell car uses a lithium-ion battery pack with an output of 35 kW and a capacity of 1.4 kWh to boost power and recover braking energy.

The drive system was completely newly developed versus the F-CELL A-Class presented in 2004, with Mercedes-Benz engineers achieving considerable improvements in output, torque, operating range, reliability, starting characteristics and comfort.

The B-Class F-CELL employs the unique sandwich floor architecture that is well-known from the A- and B-Class. The advantage of this design is that the drive components are located in the sandwich floor, where they are protected and don’t take up much space so that the vehicle’s interior remains fully usable and a trunk capacity of 416 liters (14.7 cu. ft.) is available.

Daimler and Mercedes-Benz have had more than 100 hydrogen fuel cell test vehicles and a combined total of over 4.5 million kilometers of trial testing.

To begin establishing the refueling infrastructure, Daimler is cooperating with government authorities, energy utilities and oil companies in joint projects in places such as Hamburg, Stuttgart and California.

Comments

Mannstein

Wasserstoff is definitely in our future irregardless of what the all electric diehards would like to force on the driving public.

ai_vin

Errr... hate to break this to you but this IS an electric car. It just uses a fuel cell to supply the electricity to the motor.

Account Deleted

As stated recently by Nobel Laureate Burton Richter:

1) "The entire world production of platinum isn't large enough for 10 million cars."
2) Hydrogen is too expensive to make.
3) Membranes inside the cells don't have the longevity required.

Even if they succeeded to make a platinum free fuel cell with the needed durability they still need to make a hydrogen tank with the needed durability. Pressure tanks that cost several thousand USD to replace wear down after a few hundred refills. Also a hydrogen station that can do 40 vehicles a day will always cost about 20 times more to build than a fast charger for EVs (about 50,000 USD) that also can do 40 vehicles per day. Consequently, hydrogen will be 3 or 6 times more expensive per miles driven than electricity for battery EVs and hydrogen will likely be considerably more expensive than gasoline or ethanol per miles driven. And hydrogen is not clean unless it is made from electrolysis with electricity from renewable energy in which case hydrogen will be 4 to 8 times more expensive than electricity for battery EV.

Battery EVs only have one serious competitor and that is the ICE vehicle. At 120 USD per barrel or about 3.5 USD per gallon of gasoline there is enough synthetic gasoline from coal and oil sands to run the world economy the next 100 years at least. However, it should not happen because the CO2 emissions from that gasoline production will lead to extreme global warming and probably kill off most life on the planet. Hopefully, the cost of batteries and wind power will come down soon enough to ruin even the synthetic oil industry that is rapidly replacing the old non-synthetic oil industry.

Arne

Mannstein,

What a depressing type you are. "What the electric diehards will force upon us" You feel threatened by people that express a preference for a technology. You seem to be only capable of thinking along that lines, that the world is all politics and who plays the smartest game, wins.

We live in a free world where the fittest technology will survive. And if the winner happens not to be your favourite technology, then you are simply out of luck. Nobody has forced anything upon you. Good chance that both technologies will coexist because they complement each other.

Why complicate things? If you like hydrogen, then start saving and buy a fuel cell vehicle once you can afford it. It's as simple as that.

HarveyD

Very well said Anne.

Progressive electrification of most transportation vehicles will take place in the next two to three decades.

Until such times as on-board e-storage units have the high energy density and low cost required, many electrified vehicles will have to have some type of on-board e-power generating unit to get the required range.

A very light weight flex fuel ICE genset may be the lowest cost solution for many years. As the e-storage units get better and smaller, the on-board genset usefulness will ease. Eventually, compact fuel cells may fill the that role; whenever their cost come down about 100+ folds and hydrogen becomes available.

Much lower cost fuel cells coupled with improved super-caps could, one day, become one of the possibility. The world will certainly find ways to reduce cost and size and improved performances of fuel cells, batteries, super-caps etc. The winning technology may or may not be the current favoured one.

An interesting transition decade ahead.

wintermane2000

I could swear I posted on this.. must be going senile..r...

Henrik you might as well be saying people will never fly because steam engines are too heavy.

kelly

Ann's right, use the fittest technology. There may even be a niche for hydrogen fuel cells(hfc's), but auto companies don't state all the problems or costs($100,000's/unit).

HFC's most easily further the status quo - too expensive for a new auto startup, present oil firms provide the hydrogen, government grants more billions of tax dollars for more decades(research grants, white pages). The corporate officers then control their grants, incomes, etc..

Mannstein

Anne:

Looks like I've hit a raw nerve which was my intent.

This is good since it makes it abundantly clear that you and several other members of this forum have an irrational bias for electric cars.

I stand by my statement. In some recent posts several members have stated we should tax this and legislate that to force electric golf carts and hybrids on the rest of us.

As for your condescending advice of beginning to save my shekels so that I could afford a battery or fuel cell vehicle it might interest you that I can afford to buy either or both at the present time. The problem is they don't meet my needs and I suspect the needs of the majority of the driving public.

Incidentally personal attacks on members of this forum only demonstrates the weakness of your arguments.

Mannstein

ai_vin:

Since you hated to break it to me I will reciprocate and hate to break it to you.

Clearly, you have either not read my post or perhaps English is not your mother tongue.

Nowhere in my post do I claim that a fuel cell vehicle does not use an electric motor.

ai_vin

Heh, now it looks like we're the ones who hit the raw nerve.

Engineer-Poet

Quoth Mannstein:

In some recent posts several members have stated we should tax this and legislate that to force electric golf carts and hybrids on the rest of us.
Electric golf carts?  Really?  Is that how you would characterize the Tesla Roadster, or even the Tango?

One of the nerves hit was definitely Mannstein's.

ToppaTom

Many feel threatened when manufacturers express a preference for, or not for, a technology.
Many seem to be only capable of thinking along the lines, that the world is all politics and who plays the smartest or most evil game, wins.

We live in a free world where the fittest technology will survive. And if the winner happens not to be electric cars like the EV1, then you are simply out of luck. Nobody has forced anything upon you. And car makers will chose the products they make - we chose what we will buy.
Good chance that technologies will exist and flourish when and if they prove feasible.

Why complicate things? If you like the EV1, then start saving and buy a Volt or a Leaf or a BYD – but not now? Don’t you already have a Tesla? Did someone crush it before you could buy it?
Oh, OK, when the technology matures then.

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