Just like its counterparts at Honda and GM who’ve announced they’ll produce hydrogen fuel-cell cars, Mercedes-Benz hopes the whole “if you build it” thing doesn’t just apply to Shoeless Joe Jackson. Mercedes announced today the company will build a hydrogen-fueled version of its European B-Class hatchback called the F-Cell for the US and Europe. It’ll arrive by early 2010, far ahead of the massive hydrogen infrastructure the company acknowledges will be required for wide adoption of such cars.
The company says it will build 200 units of the F-Cell, a car powered by a 136-horsepower electric motor with current generated by a fuel-cell generator. Power storage comes by way of a lithium-ion battery (35 kW output / 1.4 kWh capacity) supporting a driving range of 250 miles and a top speed of 106. According to a press release, the F-Cell will perform similarly to an economy car with a 2-liter, four-cylinder engine. The company also touts good cold-start capability at temperatures as low as -13 degrees Fahrenheit. Not likely a problem in California, where most of the country’s hydrogen refueling stations are.
Still, with the number of such stations in California still in the low double digits, and few stations elsewhere in the country, the F-Cell’s limited rollout will likely remain centered on the Golden State. Mercedes-Benz officials say the company is working with oil companies, utilities and government agencies in California and Germany to expand the hydrogen infrastructure to support F-Cell drivers.