Mercedes-Benz Unveils F-Cell Fuel Cell Vehicle

By Paul Riegler on 17 November 2010
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At the Los Angeles Auto Show, Mercedes-Benz announced the F-Cell, a hydrogen-electric B-Class compact and the automaker’s first compact to be sold in the U.S.

The front-wheel-drive F-Cell runs on compressed hydrogen combined with a 136-horsepower electric motor and a 1.4-kWh lithium-ion battery.  Fuel-cell economy will be equivalent to 4.3 l/100 km (54 mpg) although Mercedes says it expects drives to do even better.  The car’s range is approximately 370 km (230 miles).

The F-Cell is the first fuel-cell powered Zero-Emissions Vehicle to be certified by the EPA and CARB (California Air Resources Board).

The heart of the B-Class F-Cell is the new electric drive system powered by a fuel cell, which the company says is “compact, powerful, safe and fully suitable for everyday use.”  The fuel cell generates the electric drive power directly on-board the vehicle from the chemical reaction of oxygen and hydrogen.   No harmful emissions are produced; the exhaust is pure water.

The car will be available in limited numbers at dealerships before the end of the year on an $849/month, 24-month lease.  By 2012, Mercedes expects 200 F-Cells to be on the road in California and Europe.  California currently has eight hydrogen stations at this time.

“California, with its progressive environmental legislation, is the ideal region for everyday operation of a true zero-emissions vehicle,” said Thomas Weber, the head of development for Mercedes-Benz.

An A-Class F-Cell test fleet has already driven over 583,000 km (362,250 miles) in California.  Mercedes plans to offer F-Cell vehicles on a broader basis by 2015.