Mercedes-Benz F-Cells finish round-world trip

June 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

Three Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-Cell prototypes – hydrogen-fuelled, zero-emissions fuel cell cars – have completed a round-the-world trip and returned to Stuttgart. Their journey took in over 30,000km and 14 countries on four continents, much of it over demanding terrain and in tough conditions, and Mercedes reports ‘reliable operation’. However, most of the refuelling had to be done from a unit on a supporting Sprinter van (diesel), rather putting paid to this being a totally zero-emissions jaunt.

“The time for electric vehicles with fuel cells has come”, said M-B chairman Dieter Zetsche. “Now the development of the infrastructure has to pick up speed. For only an adequate number of hydrogen fuelling stations enables car drivers to benefit from the advantages of this technology – high range, short refuelling times, zero emissions.” M-B says that there are only around 200 hydrogen fuelling stations worldwide as yet, and that a network of around 1000 will be needed in Germany alone to give basic support.

The aim of the 70-day trip was to raise awareness of fuel cell vehicles, lobby for improvements to the refuelling infrastructure but also to demonstrate the cars’ robustness and ‘everyday usability’. The B-Classes took in road conditions from unfinished surfaces in Australia and China to city congestion, and only a minor bodywork-denting accident for one in Kazakhstan caused any problems.

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