Mercedes-Benz launched the GLC F-Cell SUV in Germany which is claimed to be the first electric vehicle to feature fuel cell and plug-in hybrid technology. The company has reported a combined hydrogen consumption of 0.34kg/100km, combined CO2 emissions of 0g/km and a combined electrical consumption of 13.7kWh/100km. The car is currently being launched in major cities of Germany which are already comparatively well equipped with hydrogen filling stations, such as Stuttgart, Dusseldorf, Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Munich and Cologne.
The first customers of GLC F-Cell SUV consists of various national and regional ministries as well as the National Organisation Hydrogen (NOW) and H2 Mobility. It also includes the Deutsche Bahn and the German railways. Companies like Air Liquide, Shell, Linde have also been included as the first customers of the vehicle. The car will be available to general customers of Germany by the spring of 2019 via Mercedes-Benz Rent, the premium car rental service from Mercedes-Benz. The GLC F-CELL will be offered exclusively in the form of a full-service rental model. This will include all maintenance and possible repairs together with a comprehensive warranty package covering the entire rental period.
Quick charge and a long range
Two carbon-fibre-encased tanks in the vehicle floor hold 4.4 kg of hydrogen. Mercedes-Benz has revealed that the globally standardised 700-bar tank technology makes it possible to replenish the hydrogen supply within just three minutes. The company further revealed that with a hydrogen consumption of around 1 kg/100 km, the GLC F-CELL achieves around 430 hydrogen-based kilometres in the NEDC cycle; in hybrid mode it additionally delivers up to 51 km on a fully charged battery. At the same time, an output of 155 kW helps to ensure high driving dynamics.
The vehicle comes with four operating modes:
Hybrid: the vehicle draws power from both energy sources. Power peaks are handled by the battery, while the fuel cell runs in the optimum efficiency range.
F-CELL: the state of charge of the high-voltage battery is kept constant by the energy from the fuel cell. Only hydrogen is consumed. This mode is ideal for steady cruising over long distances.
Battery: the GLC F-CELL runs all-electrically and is powered by the high-voltage battery. The fuel cell system is not in operation. This is the ideal mode for short distances.
Charge: charging the high-voltage battery has priority, for example in order to recharge the battery for the maximum overall range prior to refuelling with hydrogen or to create power reserves.
In all operating modes, the system features an energy recovery function, which makes it possible to recover energy during braking or coasting and to store it in the battery.
Through its joint venture with H2 Mobility, Daimler is looking to expand the hydrogen refuelling station network from its current level of 50 to some 100 stations by 2019. The long-term objective of the partners is a network of up to 400 hydrogen refuelling stations. Similar infrastructure projects are being promoted in Europe, the USA and Japan.
Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-Cell
Daimler claims that its researchers have been working on fuel cell technology since the 1980s. In 1994, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the first fuel cell vehicle to the global public: the NECAR 1. The B-Class F-CELL is claimed to have together covered over eighteen million kilometres, demonstrating the maturity of the powertrain concept.
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