Mercedes-Benz unveils retrofuturistic F-Cell Roadster built by trainees

Mercedes-Benz F-Cell Roadster – Click above for high-res image gallery

Times may be tough, but that isn't stopping Daimler from having a bit of expensive-looking fun with its trainees... so long as there's an educational bent to it. What you see before you isn't an artful series of renderings, it's an actual time-warping fuel cell concept dubbed "F-CELL Roadster."

It took a year and more than 150 trainees to create, but the entire project involved using "junior employees", giving the company's up-and-coming employees a creative way to learn how alternative-fuel systems come together.

The F-CELL Roadster marries Benz Patent Motor Car stylings with 21st century tech wonderfully, including that legendary vehicle's general aesthetic and proportions, along with old-meets-new technologies like carbon-fiber buckets capped in hand-stitched leather and a drive-by-wire central control joystick.

The centerpiece, of course, is the Roadster's fuel cell powertrain, which has a power rating of 1.2 kilowatts, a top speed of 25 kilometers-per-hour, and a range of 350 kilometers. That means you'll have a long, slow trip, just like those adventuring motorists back at the turn of the century. Official press release posted after the jump.

[Source: Mercedes]

  • Young people unite high tech and tradition
  • Alternative drive systems as a training topic
In a hitherto unique project bridging various fields of profession, the trainees of Daimler AG at the Sindelfingen Mercedes-Benz plant have built a Roadster with fuel cell drive. For about a year, more than 150 trainees and dual education system students worked on the overall concept, development, assembly, and completion of the F-CELL Roadster. This project involved junior employees from the fields of automotive mechatronics, model-building, electronics, coating technology, manufacturing mechanics, product design, and interior appointments. The prime objective of the project was to integrate the topic of alternative drive systems into training with hands-on experience.
"This project impressively demonstrates that the topic of sustainable mobility has become an integral part of our vocational training," said Human Resources Board member and Labor Relations Manager Günther Fleig. "I am delighted to see how much initiative and creativity the young people have put into this project."

Tradition meets the future
The F-CELL Roadster uniquely combines state-of-the-art technologies with the history of vehicle construction. As an allusion to the Benz Patent Motor Car from 1886, the vehicle is fitted with large spoked wheels. Moreover, the F-CELL Roadster incorporates stylistic elements from diverse eras of automotive history, such as the carbon-fiber bucket seats with hand-stitched leather covers and the distinctively styled fiberglass front section, based on the component from the Formula One racing bolides.

The F-CELL Roadster is controlled with drive-by-wire technology, and a joystick takes the place of a conventional steering wheel. The vehicle is powered by the emission-free fuel cell system located at the rear. With a power rating of 1.2 kW the F-CELL Roadster reaches a top speed of 25 km/h and has an operating range of up to 350 km.

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