Mercedes-Benz' B-Class F-Cell – a front-wheel drive, hydrogen-fed, compact sports tourer – is one of only a handful of fuel cell vehicles currently offered to the public by a major automaker. Before 2010 came to a close, the F-Cell hit U.S. soil with a lease price of $849 (plus tax) per month. Recently, M-B delivered two more F-Cells; one to the German Federal Ministry of Transport and the other handed over to NOW GmbH – Germany's National Organization of Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology.

The Federal Minister for Transport, Peter Ramsauer, said that the delivery is good news for Germany and the country's electric mobility efforts:

Our goal is clear: today we are building the best cars in the world, and in the future we also want to build the best electric cars in the world. To achieve this we need marketable, practical products, because the success of electric mobility will depend to a great extent on acceptance by users. This is why we are promoting electric mobility not only with batteries, but also with hydrogen and fuel cells.

The big difference between H2 and pure electric cars, at least today, is potential range. The F-Cell's operating range of 249 miles between fill ups makes it capable of tackling trips that the Nissan Leaf can't handle without a fill up. Of course, you can recharge a Leaf at home, which is its own kind of mobility benefit.

[Source: Mercedes-Benz]
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Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL: Mercedes-Benz electric vehicle featuring fuel cell drive is presented to German Federal Ministry of Transport

Berlin – Thanks to the B-Class F-CELL, the employees of the German Federal Ministry of Transport will soon be able to enjoy local zero-emission motoring on business trips. This is because Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, presented a fuel cell car to German Federal Minister for Transport Peter Ramsauer in Berlin today. Another B-Class F-CELL was also accepted by NOW GmbH - the National Organisation Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology.

"Electric cars featuring fuel cell drives have the potential to revolutionize our mobility again. The fuel cell drive in the B-Class F-CELL is efficient, clean and highly suitable for everyday use. It enables local zero-emission motoring with a range of around 400 kilometres, and this is with a refuelling time of just three minutes. In addition, the vehicle really comes into its own in terms of driving pleasure", explained Dr. Thomas Weber.

"Germany is a world leader in the development of hydrogen and fuel cell technology. We now need to build on this lead. Our goal is clear: today we are building the best cars in the world, and in the future we also want to build the best electric cars in the world. To achieve this we need marketable, practical products, because the success of electric mobility will depend to a great extent on acceptance by users. This is why we are promoting electric mobility not only with batteries, but also with hydrogen and fuel cells. In cities, on short journeys, I see great potential for electric cars with batteries. On longer routes, electric vehicles featuring fuel cells present an interesting option", noted Federal Minister for Transport Mr. Ramsauer.

Local zero-emission mobility

In the current B-Class F-CELL, the 100 kW/136 hp electric motor, which develops torque of 290 Nm, delivers dynamism from the instant the engine starts to turn. At the same time the B-Class F-CELL achieves an NEDC consumption (New European Driving Cycle) equivalent to only 3.3 litres of fuel (diesel equivalent) per 100 kilometres. With its long range and short refuelling times, the B-Class F-CELL combines local zero-emission mobility and high performance with suitability for long distances. At the heart of the drive system is the optimised, latest generation fuel cell system which is compact, powerful, safe and suitable for everyday use.

The fuel cell generates the electrical power on board the vehicle, from a chemical reaction between oxygen and hydrogen - producing only pure water and zero emissions. The integrated safety concept of the B-Class F-CELL takes the specific characteristics of the innovative drive system into account. The experience garnered over many years by Mercedes-Benz with the electric drive powered with fuel cells from the A-Class F-CELL and the high-voltage technology involving the lithium-ion battery from the S 400 HYBRID went into honing the concept.

Everyday use demonstrates practical suitability

In order to gather more experience from everyday use of the vehicle, which will be of benefit for subsequent model series, 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 as "test drivers". In all, by 2012 around 90 B-Class F-CELL vehicles will be introduced into the German market. Within the scope of the National Innovation Program Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP), BMVBS advances the allocation and operation of the B-Class F-CELL. At the same time, the vehicle is also being put to practical everyday use in the USA as well as a number of other countries. It is expected that in 2012 a total of around 200 examples of the environmentally friendly electric cars will be operated on the roads by customers.

A million electric vehicles on German roads by 2020

A prerequisite for the introduction of fuel cell vehicles as well as the necessary infrastructure they require is that all of the parties involved must pull together. Support from public authorities is particularly important in order to ensure prompt and extensive implementation of the mobility concept. As part of the National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Innovation Programme (NIP), which is coordinated by NOW, the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development is supporting research and development work, as well as demonstrating hydrogen and fuel cell technology in the areas of transport, stationary supply and special markets with investment currently totalling 500 million euros. Initiatives such as the Clean Energy Partnership (CEP) are also expected to provide proof of the system capabilities of accompanying technologies. These include the electrolytic production and storage of gaseous hydrogen at filling stations, and the central CO2-free extraction of hydrogen and its subsequent delivery and on-site storage. The aim is to put the economic efficiency of hydrogen production from regenerative energy sources to the test in actual operation, to guarantee quick, safe refuelling, and also to demonstrate the suitability for everyday use of high-performance, near production standard hydrogen vehicles. "I want this future technology to become part of everyday life - including part of our lives here at the Ministry. This is why we are striving to set an example: as of today, in addition to a battery car, we will also be using a fuel cell vehicle to meet the Ministry's official motoring requirements", explained the Federal Minister for Transport.

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