Mercedes-Benz presents B-Class F-CELL fuel cell vehicle at LA Auto Show; delivery to US leasing customers by end of 2010
Mercedes-Benz presented the new B-Class F-CELL, its first (limited) series production fuel-cell powered electric vehicle available in the US (earlier post), at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Selected customers will take delivery of the first lease vehicles before the end of 2010. By 2012, a total of 200 of these cars will be on the roads in California and Europe.
The front-wheel drive B-Class F-CELL offers an operating range of around 240 miles (386 km) (Euro driving cycle, 190 miles (306 km) estimated EPA)—more than twice the range of the 2004 A-Class F-CELL—and short refueling times. The technical basis for the drive system of the B-Class F-CELL is an optimized, new-generation fuel cell system that is some 40% smaller than the system in the A-Class F-CELL, generates 30% more power, and consumes 30% less fuel.
The 136 hp (101 kW) electric motor in the B-Class F-CELL develops 214 lb-ft (290 N·m) of torque from standstill and delivers driving dynamics on par with a two-liter gasoline engine, the company says. The liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery is the energy storage medium and has a capacity of more than 1.4 kWh. The B-Class F-CELL uses a single-speed gear reduction transmission w/reverse and recuperation.
Acceleration from 0-60 mph takes 11.4 seconds; top speed is 106 mph (171 km/h). The cold-start capability of the B-Class F-CELL is down to -13 °F (-25 °C).
The hydrogen used to run the fuel cell is stored in three tanks at a pressure of 10,150 psi (700 bar). Each tank holds just under 8.8 lbs (4 kg) of the gaseous fuel. The tanks are hermetically sealed, preventing the escape of hydrogen into the atmosphere, even if the vehicle is left to stand for long periods. The tanks can refilled in less than 3 minutes, using a standardized refueling system.
|Mercedes-Benz F-CELL Technology.|
The B-Class F-CELL has been certified by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and CARB (California Air Resources Board).
California, with its progressive environmental legislation, is the ideal region for everyday operation of a true zero-emissions vehicle. After more than 362,500 miles covered by the A-Class F-CELL test fleet, we are continuing to build on our experience with the latest generation of electric cars with fuel cell drive. With the B-Class F-CELL cars in California, we will have more than doubled the size of the existing fleet in customer hands - marking a further milestone en route to bringing this technology to market by 2015.—Dr. Thomas Weber, member of the Daimler AG Board of Management responsible for Group Research and Head of Development for Mercedes-Benz Cars
On the basis of market research data, Mercedes-Benz has chosen a representative customer group consisting of fleet operators, public institutions, public figures and private customers. The primary aim is to gain further experience in day-to-day operation, which can then be incorporated into subsequent models. A typical full-service monthly lease rate will be $849 excl. tax over a term of 24 months and includes the cost of hydrogen fuel.
In order to further the commercialization of hydrogen-powered vehicles, Mercedes-Benz is involved in the California Fuel Cell Partnership (CaFCP), an association of automobile manufacturers, energy suppliers, government agencies and technology companies, as well as in the newly formed Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association (FCHEA).
While the CaFCP is currently pursuing the transition from a demonstration project to early commercialization of fuel-cell drive systems at all levels, the State of California has already made $27 million available toward the development of a hydrogen infrastructure, with an additional $14 million anticipated in 2011.
There are currently five public hydrogen filling stations in the greater Los Angeles area, with four more due to open by the end of 2010. One is also planned for the San Francisco Bay area.