Mercedes-Benz won’t just tell you how practical and functional hydrogen an alternative fuel is, the carmaker aims to prove it by having its B-class F-Cell driven around the world. This marketing ploy -- the ‘Mercedes-Benz F-Cell World Drive’ -- is meant to promote hydrogen fuel cell powered cars. One thing that the carmaker would want to emphasize is that refueling the F-Cell takes only three minutes.
It’s quite poetic how the carmaker has planned for the F-cell to circumnavigate the world in 125 days on the year of the company’s 125th anniversary.
The roughly 18,500-mile drive starts in Stuttgart, Germany, on January 30. Then the car will follow the route through Portugal, the US, Australia, China, Russia, Sweden and then Denmark. The last stop is in Germany at the start of June. Three B-class F-Cell Mercs will take part in this long drive.
According to Dr. Thomas Weber, a member of Daimler AG’s Board of Management in-charge of Group Research and Development Mercedes-Benz Cars, by circumnavigating the world, the company is highlighting the fact that its electric vehicles that use fuel cells have a high level of technical maturity.
Dr. Weber explains that this mission would not have been possible if the company used electric vehicles running solely on battery power. Similar to the time when automobiles were invented 125 years ago, there is always the matter of matching fueling infrastructures.
Dr. Weber adds that he is confident though that all parties who are part of this undertaking will find a way to exploit fully the huge potentials offered by this technology. The fuel cell vehicles will start their 125-day around-the-world journey starting June and will pass through a total of 14 countries.
The tour will begin in Stuttgart, Germany then go to southern Europe and will pass through France, followed by Spain and then Portugal. The vehicles will then resume its journey in North America, travelling through the U.S. and through Vancouver, Canada.
It will also cross the continent of Australia after which it will go to Asia. Once it reaches China, it will then go to Kazakhstan, Russia, going all the way to northern Europe ending once again in Stuttgart. The B-Class F-CELL has zero-emissions and is estimated to have a range of 400 km with possibly short refill periods.
This makes it highly fitting to be used for long journeys or even everyday travel in the city. At the center of this B-Class F-CELL is the latest electric drive system that uses fuel cell. This fuel cell is powerful, compact, and more importantly safe, making it suitable for daily use.
It also generates the needed electrical power by utilizing the chemical reaction that occurs between hydrogen and oxygen. As mentioned earlier, an important issue that needs to be addressed is that of fueling infrastructures.
Clearly there was an absence of hydrogen filling stations on the planned route. Mercedes-Benz however found an ingenious way to address this matter. Mercedes-Benz has partnered with Linde AG who will be the exclusive supplier of the needed hydrogen.
Linde AG is able to handle this responsibility and can guarantee a stable supply as it has sites and subsidiaries stationed worldwide. On routes that are considered remote, a tank vehicle will be on hand to provide the fuel cell vehicles with the required hydrogen. The tank vehicle has been made specifically for this tour, again in partnership with Linde AG.