Mercedes Fuel Cell car production by 2012-2015
Mercedes Fuel Cell Concept
(13 Oct 05)
Mercedes-Benz reckons it can have a fuel cell vehicle in production between 2012 and 2015, and its next step towards that goal is about to be unveiled at the Tokyo Show.
The dreadfully-named F 600 HYgenius (pictured) uses a hydrogen fuel cell which, according to Professor Herbert Kohler of DaimlerChrysler, "is around 40% more compact than previously, runs more efficiently than ever and is notable for its good cold-start characteristics."
The cell produces electric power which is either used to drive the vehicle or stored in a battery for later use. Maximum power from the fuel cell alone is the equivalent of 82bhp, but this rises to 115bhp if the battery is brought into play. As with the engines and batteries in petrol/electric hybrids on sale now, the F 600 can run on power from the cell alone, or from the battery alone, or from both, according to circumstances.
Mercedes has devoted much thought to how all the stored electricity could be used other than to drive the F 600. A relatively trivial example of its thinking is the fact that the cup holders don't just hold cups but can also keep drinks hot or cold as required. More comprehensively, it should be possible for passengers on holiday or on a business trip to be completely independent from mains electricity, as they could simply plug any electric equipment into a socket in the tailgate.