The hydrogen-powered Mercedes-Benz F-Cell is not a new car – it's been around the world, as we saw – but it did just get a brand new look: it's been made "invisible."

Two things for the nit-pickers out there: it's not actually invisible and, yes, the whole thing is just a promotional stunt in Germany, a way to highlight that the car, Daimler says, is "invisible" to the environment.

The way it works is that a camera on one side of the car broadcasts a live image to a multitude of LEDs plastered on the other side. So, when you look at the car, you see a representation of what's on the other side. It's similar to what some military research organizations are working on, but this is the first time we've heard of it used on a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. Also, technically, the special F-Cell is only half "invisible," since the non-LED side of the car has the camera rig and associated wires. You can see how this works in the video after the jump.

A year ago, Herbert Kohler, Daimler's head of e-drive and future mobility, said he expects fuel cell vehicles to not cost any more than diesel hybrids by 2015. We expect he meant as long as they're not covered by LEDs, anyway.



I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 21 Comments
      M Peter Selman
      • 2 Years Ago
      That is very, very cool. It's like sci-fi come true. I love the campaign. However, as for the car, does this mean we will never 'see' it?
      • 2 Years Ago
      It´s funny to see the idea finally in 1:1. I ve developed this concept during my thesis project at Mercedes/Maybach in 2010. Here´s a link http://www.michalplata.com/index.php?/thesis/model/2/ It´d be great to see the exterior design in fullscale as well. Its nice to see old student ideas become “true”:-)
      goodoldgorr
      • 2 Years Ago
      Im interrested to buy but with a normal paint without leds.
        Ele Truk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        Can't buy, only lease. This is true of ALL FCVs. Nobody will sell them.
      solas
      • 2 Years Ago
      This production couldn't be more true: sure, the car is "invisible" to the environment .... on ONE HALF of the car. A simple question remains .... exactly how did you make that hydrogen in the first place, and how green/invisible/efficient is it? That is the only half of the story we really care about.
        goodoldgorr
        • 2 Years Ago
        @solas
        It's possible to do hydrogen at the point of sale with just water and electricity, some u.s.a shell hydrogen stations in washinton and los-angeles do it like that already. Some bloggers argue that it's more efficient to put the electricity directly in batteries instead of doing hydrogen which according to them have a poorest efficiency because it see many transformation steps before delivering electricity back again so it lose efficiency at each process. Well the hydrogen is made before you refuel in 5 minutes and if you put electricity directly in battery then the long recharging time is still there because batteries do not recharge instantly. It cost more to the refueling stations to recharge a car in 30 to 60 minutes then to serve a car in 5 minutes. Also the impedance of water plus electricity is more efficient then the impedance of electricity with an electrolyte like lithium ion plus ton of weight.
          Ele Truk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @goodoldgorr
          Honda had a solar power Hydrogen station that could produce 5700 liters per year, that's with an 8 Kw solar array. So that station could provide enough fuel to power the Honda FCX for about 8000 miles. That same 8Kw solar array could power 7 or 8 BEVs for the same 8000 mile each. http://ieahia.org/pdfs/honda.pdf Sure Hydrogen has zero emissions when powered from the sun, but is that really the best way to put those photovoltaic cells to use? When I can either drive 7 to 8 times farther with the same array, or drive 7 or 8 vehicles that same distance as one FCV, I think not. Maybe the F-Cell is more efficient than the FCX, but it's not 7 or times more efficient. BEVs still the most efficient way to run off the power of the sun.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @goodoldgorr
          Here you go gorr, this opened up the other day! "On March 2, 2012, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems inaugurated a solar hydrogen filling station. Sponsored by the Ministry of the Environment Baden-Wuerttemberg, the publicly accessible filling station serves not only as a demonstration platform but also represents a milestone in the progressive network of hydrogen filling stations being set up in the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg." "The hydrogen filling station in Freiburg is one of the few stations that exhibits the entire value chain – starting from electricity generated from renewable energy, through electrolysis and ultimately to refueling the vehicle with hydrogen. Since its founding, Fraunhofer ISE has been working on electrolysis technology, hydrogen for use in fuel cells and on hydrogen as electrical energy storage for renewably generated power. The hydrogen filling station serves as a reference project for the researchers in their quest to develop emission-free mobility for the future. Equally interesting are electrolysers which operate as flexible loads. They serve to stabilize intermittencies in the grid due to the fluctuating feed-in from renewable energy systems. “The consequent transformation of our energy supply system to one hundred percent renewable energy is one of the essential challenges for our society in the coming years,” states Prof. Eicke R. Weber, director of Fraunhofer ISE. He adds: “On the question of storage, hydrogen plays a prominent role. With hydrogen, surplus electricity can be stored in any given amount and be delivered upon demand to, for example, the mobility sector.” http://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/en/press-and-media/press-releases/press-releases-2012/running-cars-on-sun-and-water
      atc98092
      • 2 Years Ago
      That's actually kind of neat. Very interesting how well the technology works. I suppose the car works just as well :)
      paulwesterberg
      • 2 Years Ago
      This produce is vaporware. Pay no attention to MB until they have a prototype to display.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        The F-Cell is already being leased to customers.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          "While Nissan and GM were racing to deliver their first electric and extended range electric vehicles to customers this week, Mercedes-Benz quietly handed over the keys of an F-Cell hydrogen car to its new owner in California. Mercedes-Benz posted photos of the delivery on its Facebook page, marking the first of 70 or so hydrogen vehicles that California drivers can lease from the luxury carmaker over the next few years. The compact F-Cell uses hydrogen to power the 134-horsepower electric motor and achieves a 240-mile zero-emissions range." http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13746_7-20026044-48.html "...the first vehicles in Germany and the USA have already been in customer hands since 2010. All in all we will produce 200 B-Class F-CELL - 70 are planned for California until 2012. The start of the series production for fuel cell electric vehicles will then start already in 2014. Greetings" https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.264208416970856.64914.151785948213104&type=1
          paulwesterberg
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          I'll believe it when I see it!
          Ele Truk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Funny how they say "handed over keys...new owner in California" on a lease. That means that Mercedes-Benz is still the owner, the guy receiving the keys never owns it.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 2 Years Ago
      who was it that said the bigger the lie, the more it will be believed? some famous german guy from the past how do you market the biggest lie the most spectacularly.. within that premise it's pretty well done. I've had the same idea for a body suit. although not to promote a lie.
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      I tried to comment that I didn't see this coming, but the comment got eaten! :-)
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hmm.Comments seem to be disappearing. Lets see how this one does.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 2 Years Ago
      I suppose it is an apt metaphor after all. a well crafted deception : )
      Letstakeawalk
      • 2 Years Ago
      Very clever promotion. Certainly attention grabbing!
    • Load More Comments