Mercedes to Launch Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Car Into Production by 2010

Mercedes-Benz says the company will bring a fuel-cell hatchback to buyers in the US and Europe by early next year. But will there be enough filling stations to support it?

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.

Mercedes-Benz F-Cell Hydrogen Car

Mercedes-Benz says it will build a hydrogen-fueled version of its European B-Class hatchback. The F-Cell will get electric power from a hydrogen cell, giving it the performance of a 2-liter economy car. An inaugural run of 200 units will arrive in the US and Europe by early 2010.Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz F-Cell Hydrogen Car, Coming in 2010

Mercedes-Benz officials say the F-Cell will be fitted with a 136-hp electric motor with power 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.Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz F-Cell Hydrogen Car, Good in the Cold

MB touts the F-Cell's cold-start capability. While early fuel cells balked at starting in sub-freezing temperatures, the F-Cell's unit can operate in temps as low as -13 degrees Fahrenheit.Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz F-Cell Hydrogen Car, Working on the Infrastructure

Mercedes-Benz officials say the company is working with oil companies, utilities and government agencies in California, Hamburg and Stuttgart on joint projects to expand the network of hydrogen filling stations to support F-Cell drivers.Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz F-Cell Hydrogen Car, Dash-Mounted Fuel-Cell System Monitor

As in many hybrid cars, the Mercedes-Benz F-Cell hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle has a dashboard-mounted screen on which to monitor drive-system performance. In the compact fuel cell system, gaseous hydrogen reacts with atmospheric oxygen at 700 bar to generate a current for the electric motor. A lithium-ion battery with an output of 35 kW and a capacity of 1.4 kWh boosts power and recovers braking energy.Mercedes-Benz