The B-Class F-Cell from the current fuel cell electric vehicle fleet has reached more than 300,000 km in normal everyday conditions.
Mercedes has been working to fuel cell technology for few years. Produced under series production conditions, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL has already been in day-to-day use by customers in the the European and American markets since 2010. Today, the total mileage of the Daimler fuel cell fleet, which now counts more than 300 vehicles, including numerous research vehicles, reaches far more than 9 million kilometers.
For this achievement, Daimler AG was honored with the “f-cell Award 2014” and therefore was, for the third time, convincing with its developments in the field of fuel cell technology in the competition for the Fuel Cell Innovation Award.
The cars from the fuel cell fleet are based on the former generation of the B-Class. But even the new generation gave up the sandwich structure of the former one, the new MFA platform offers all the facilities for alternative propulsion. The underbody houses the H2 tanks (B-Class fuel cell), one large and two smaller gas tanks and a 14 litre petrol tank (B200 Natural gas Drive) or the lithium ion battery (B-Class Electric Drive).
Based on the current and pending results, the Mercedes engineers expect to identify further potential for optimization, which will flow directly into the development of the next generation of fuel cell electric vehicles. The company has the clear objective to develop a common drive train in cooperation with Ford and Nissan and to bring competitive fuel cell electric vehicles in large numbers in the streets by 2017.
On the other side, Mercedes is involved in several initiatives such as the H2 Mobility for the build-up of a hydrogen infrastructure. At least for Germany, there are clear plans to develop the H2 station in Stuttgart, Berlin and Hamburg and on the highway between these three cities. Already in Berlin and Hamburg, there are some H2 stations.
According to our informations, Mercedes works on the next generation of a B-Class Fuel Cell, which will use the MFA platform. The engine and the fuel cell will be placed under the bonnet, the Li-Ion battery will remain in the boot like in the current generation, meanwhile the H2 tanks will be placed in the underbody, but more to the rear of the car to obtain a perfect weight distribution.
The cars from the current test fleet use an electric engine with 136 HP, but the next generation will get 10-15% more power, the H2 consumption of 0.97 kg/100 km will decrease by 5% (the current range is of 385 km) and the fuel cell will be more compact.