Mercedes-Benz fuel cell vehicles drive from LA to Northern California using only public hydrogen stations
Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL customers ventured beyond Southern California last week for the first time, while only filling up at existing public hydrogen stations along the route from Los Angeles to San Francisco. The opening of a new hydrogen station in Coalinga along the I-5 corridor made this opportunity possible.
A team driving five B-Class F-CELL refilled at four permanent hydrogen fueling stations located in Burbank, Coalinga, West Sacramento and Emeryville, accumulating nearly 1,000 miles over the course of their three day trip. Three F-CELL customers were accompanied by a team from Mercedes-Benz Research and Development North America based in Long Beach. The purpose of this unique road trip was to highlight the growing hydrogen station network and to show that the vision of the California Hydrogen Highway is becoming reality.
The current hydrogen station network is limited to 10 stations and is in position to grow significantly over the next year. More than 40 public retail hydrogen stations are planned to be opened in 2016. Tyson Eckerle, Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Project Manager in the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, joined the road trip to observe the progress firsthand.
With its 700-bar high-pressure fuel tank system, the car has a long operating range of around 250 miles (400 kilometers) and can be refueled in the short time of less than three minutes. Produced under series production conditions, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL has already been in day-to-day use with customers in the European and American markets since 2010.
The total mileage of the Daimler fuel cell fleet, which now numbers more than 300 vehicles including numerous research vehicles, has now reached more than 7.4 million miles (twelve million kilometers). Numbering around 70 vehicles, the F-CELL fleet in the USA has now covered about 2 million miles (3.2 million kilometers).
The development of the new generation Mercedes-Benz fuel cell electric vehicle is on track and the company plans to launch the model by 2017.