• Jan 31, 2011
Mercedes-Benz F-Cell – Click above for high-res image gallery
Toyota has declared on numerous occasions that it will launch a sedan-type fuel cell vehicle in 2015 at a price of $50,000 or less. Hitting that price point may prove difficult, but Daimler agrees that its doable. Herbert Kohler, head of e-drive and future mobility at Daimler, recently told Automotive News that the cost of fuel cell vehicles will decline at a rapid rate in the coming years. Kohler stated:

By 2015, we think a fuel cell car will not cost more than a four-cylinder diesel hybrid that meets the Euro 6 emissions standard. By 2013-2014, we want to bring a four-digit-number of fuel cell vehicles to market.

Kohler added that he expects fuel cell vehicles to be less expensive than comparable battery-powered cars within the next five years. Currently, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-Cell is available for lease in the U.S. at a price of $849 a month (plus tax). However, Kohler points out that the F-Cell employs expensive technology that will be replaced with less pricey hardware when the second-generation model launches in 2013-2014.
Additionally, Mercedes-Benz is toying with the notion of developing fuel cell versions of the A-, C- and E-Class models within the next five years. If the company can sucessfully incorporate its fuel cell technology into multiple platforms and reach mass production levels, costs could plunge by mid-decade.



[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]


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  • 26 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yeah, good luck with that.

      First and foremost, hydrogen is not a real fuel source since it requires more energy to make than it gives. So barring some revolutionary discovery - possibly dealing with algae or some such - I personally do not think hydrogen fuelcell cars have a future compared to EVs.

      Also, battery technology is increasing rather rapidly, so when cars are able to travel some ~300 miles on a single charge (about the range of a gas tank), the dreaded range anxiety will be a thing of the past.

      I could maybe see a future where the "average" car is EV, and hydrogen fuel-cell cars relegated to either sportscars or long-haul vehicles, but my opinion is that pure EVs is the long-term solution.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @BenRoethig

        electrics are absolutely the answer. That fuel cell vehicle you are in favor of IS an electric vehicle with a fuel cell instead of a battery. Led Acid batteries are not the answer. What we really need is better battery tech. What i feel is the answer is the ultra-capacitor. Essentially a battery that can be recharged very very rapidly. If they can make them safe, they are the ultimate answer.

        IMO any solution that attempts generate emissions free energy inside the car, is already a failure. It will always be better, cheaper, cleaner to produce on a large scale than on a small scale.
        • 3 Years Ago
        ^ While I agree that super/ultra-capacitors are needed in cars for quick recharges (and quick bursts of energy), I think that they have to be designed alongside regular batteries for longer ranges.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Electrics aren't the final solution either.
        1) that 300mi battery takes hours, not minutes to recharge. People aren't going to stop at a gas station for most of a day to recharge their car. It takes the leaf half an hour to recharge to 80% for a 60mi drive. 8hrs for its full 75mi range.
        2) The electricity doesn't come from magic fairy dust, its mostly coal.
        • 3 Years Ago
        how much energy is used to produce 1 gallon of gasoline?
        • 3 Years Ago
        spelling oops, Lead-Acid or lithium ion or any battery that takes a large time to charge.
        • 3 Years Ago
        If you have a range of 300 miles on a single charge, you won't have to stop at a refueling station... you'll be charged up when at home, and be easily able to make it back home again after a full day of driving to recharge it at night.

        Even 100 miles is more than enough for the "average" person, so being able to do 3X that amount on a single charge would give you enough range for almost anything but a cross-country trip.

        Your comment about where the electricity comes from is utterly moot. Just because a large percentage of it comes from coal today doesn't change the fact that electricity made by hydro, solar or nuclear is still electricity... its not like you have to convert it after its made to work in your EV. You can't say that about gasoline... heck, diesel and gas are chemically fairly similar (and obviously come from the same source), but as close as they are, you can't keep diesel fuel to a gas engine (or vice versa).

        Also lets not forget that everything else in our lives uses electricity - be it personal communication devices (cellphones) or laptops or tons of other gadgets. And all those are billion dollar industries that would also benefit from improved batteries. So the R&D into better batteries is a HUGE market with lots of money invested in making batteries last longer and recharge faster.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I dont know how feasible will be those technologies, but I wanna say : Free (or almost free) movement for people ! F..k OMV & co !
      • 3 Years Ago
      No, Steve, I do not believe in the tooth fairy. And I don't know the price of gas in 15 years; I'm sure at some point there will be a crisis and oil prices will go through the roof. Having said that I still think it is foolish to spend 41k on a glorified Cruze that only goes 40 miles (maybe) on electric and then takes 10 hours (or 5 if you spend the cash on the 220 charger) to recharge. The only smart thing GM did was to put an engine in the thing so you don't run out of juice in the middle of the highway. Honestly, I would rather spend that money on a 335 coupe, get pretty good mpg, and have a blast driving it.....And Cornell, you may be right about the price coming way down. PCs did cost like over 2000 bucks 15 years ago and now you can get one for 400 - not to mention the 400 one is way better than the 2k computer. Having said that, I'll believe it when I see it.
      • 3 Years Ago
      What diesel hybrids?
      • 3 Years Ago
      I firmly believe Hydrogen-fuelcell vehicles are the future... they offer the energy benefits of electric vehicles, but with the quick-refuel ease of internal-combustion vehicles... as James May said, they'll succeed as the vehicle of the future because they function the same way in the world as the vehicles of today.
        • 3 Years Ago
        fuel cells powered by hydrogen from onboard liquid fuel reformulators perhaps, as hydrocarbons are the most convenient way to carry large quantities of hydrogen around.
        • 3 Years Ago
        until I.C.E proves itself unable to achieve better efficiency there isn't really any need for fuel cell.
        • 3 Years Ago
        ...except that its takes MORE energy to create the hydrogen than it will give you.... so, no, I have to disagree with you.
      • 3 Years Ago
      In the 1990s I was chided repeatedly in conferences for my skepticism over Daimler's claims that they would have (and they promised this repeatedly in press and conferences) fuel cell vehicles commercially available (in showrooms) for $18,000 by 2003. So......
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm not convinced about the pricing ideas, what I am convinced is that the future will see our cars running on electricity.

      That said though, there is a lot of room for R&D into hydrogen "production" whereas there isn't the same amount of promise from the world of batteries.

      300 miles on a single charge seems decent, but it's about as probable of it happening as the pricing on the fuel cell dropping to this "low" level so debating it is pretty much useless at the moment.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Fuel cells are a waste of time with the current reformulation strategy. There may come a day when hydrogen is sourced from ocean water using wind and solar (and fusion) energy, but until that day the fuel source is no better than present tech.

      It would be beneficial if work was done on getting capacitor based electrics working well. Then the weight of all those batteries would be diminished, and could allow for on-the-road flash charging, allowing for a vastly increased range.
      • 3 Years Ago
      849 per month and how many fueling stations for these things? I mean where do you fuel up? How ridiculous. This is why people with common sense are opposed to alternative fuels like electric cars and fuel cells. They're way too expensive to be worth it. They're just plain silly. 41k for a volt? Why not spend 17k on a cruze and invest the 24k you just saved. It would take more than a decade of driving that electric piece of nonsense to even out the cost. Probably 15 years in fact. This doesn't add in the 2500 for the 240 charging at home either. And fuel cell stations?! Oh yeah they're so prolific like Shell stations. They're like on every corner. How moronic.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Electric cars aren't the answer. I routinely travel over 400 miles to rhode island. I wouldn't be able to do that in any of your supposed EVs. Fuel cells and Bio-Diesel are the future. Both clean and renewable..
        • 3 Years Ago
        Well, the current crop of H2 fuel cell cars wouldn't do, either. the FCX Clarity only gets 270 miles per tank, and the Daimler F-Cell only 240 miles - and there are no H2 refueling facilities on your route.

        Sure, a couple of years from now it might be different, but battery electrics will have improved by then, too.
      • 3 Years Ago
      People touting EV's and the R&D into "battery tech"; why no mention of R&D into hydrogen refinement? Hydrogen, AKA the most common element in the Universe.

      I put full support behind Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicles. Electric vehicles will never surpass (or even come close) to the practicality of a vehicle with an internal combustion engine.

      Yes, you can come up with batteries that last 200 miles, 300 miles, whatever, but with America's failing infrastructure and an always expanding population, our demand for energy is only going to become GREATER, and most of that demand will shift towards electricity.

      Will we regret putting all of our eggs in one basket and relying so heavily on one type of energy when there's an energy crisis? Absolutely.

      What will your EV be worth when there's blackouts, and when the overburdened electrical grid fails? Nothing.

      What will you revert back to, to 'charge' your vehicle? A FUEL powered portable generator, maybe?

      Electric is not the answer. Going green (which electric hardly is) doesn't have to mean abandoning the proven internal combustion engine. What he HAVE to do is abandon petrol and our efforts in that have been POOR. Improve refinement methods, make it readily available, and Hydrogen will be the energy of the future.
        • 3 Years Ago
        What you are ignoring is how much more efficient electric motors are, compared to Internal Combustion - Over 90% efficient vs 10% to 25%. That makes a BIG difference in energy demand.

        Besides, H2FCVs are, in effect, electric vehicles, just less efficient than their battery powered cousins. Use the same amount of electrical energy to produce H2 fuel for a H2FCV and to charge a BEV of similar size, and the BEV will go about 3x further on that amount of electricity.

        Using H2 to fuel IC engines, while technically possible, is massively foolish. The extreme bulkiness of H2 fuel, combined with the inefficiency of IC engines assures rather short driving range and very high fuel costs. For example, the BMW "Hydrogen 7" used a 35 gallon liquid H2 tank that filled the trunk, yet it could only go 135 miles on that much H2. Quantum converted a Prius to run on compressed H2 at a cost of $80K, it had a range of just 80 miles - but filling the trunk with extra tanks boosted the range to 150 miles. Another thing - power and performance is reduced when burning H2 for both the BMW Hydrogen 7 and the converted Prius.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [continuation of title] ... but still no word on what hydrogen will cost or where we will get it.
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