Mercedes GLC F-Cell has been confirmed as the company’s first large scale production fuel cell model. The revolutionary hydrogen powered SUV will be launched in 2017.
This high-tech Mercedes GLC variant will offer the unique combination between a fuel cell drive-train and an electric motor – a so-called F-Cell propulsion system with a range of about 500 kilometers. The power source for the electric motor is a 9 kWh lithium-ion battery.
The fuel cell drive system is mounted at the front, while the electric motor and the battery are placed above the rear suspension. The hydrogen tank is also found at the back, sitting low below the floor, under the rear seats.
The compact drive unit was designed to fit under the hood of the conventional GLC. Contrary to previous fuel cell modules used by Mercedes for the B-Class, the space required for the new unit is now 30 percent smaller. All this while system performance has increased by 40 percent and manufacturing costs have been significantly reduced.
The battery can be easily charged at home or at work, while the network of hydrogen filling stations which amounts to 34 locations in Germany is currently still very thin. The hydrogen tank can be refueled in around three minutes.
Advantage over conventional fuel cell cars: Thanks to the electric motor, the GLC can also gain energy generated during braking.
The list of possible rivals include the much-hyped Toyota Mirai and the second-generation Honda FCV Clarity. Both the Mirai and the FCV are essentially large sedans penned in fastback configurations, though, as opossed to the GLC which is a mid-size SUV. BMW is also set to join the hydrogen battle with its own fuel cell model already announced for 2020.
According to official plans, the Mercedes GLC F-Cell will be produced in an annual output of about 1,000 units.