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