German premium carmaker Mercedes-Benz has created a new plug-in hybrid vehicle that combines the power of two technologies –electricity (battery) and fuel cell (hydrogen). In short distances, it relies on pure electricity. When there is a need to travel over long distance, this plug-in hybrid relies on the power of fuel cell. This is the new Mercedes-Benz GLC F-CELL PHEV.
Using the Mercedes GLC as the base, this technological showcase isn't a futuristic vehicle, but is a real SUV that will be delivered to customers at the end of October 2018. It was originally envisioned as a plug-in hybrid, but now represents an important step by the German carmaker in the development of fuel cell technology.
As engineered, the Mercedes GLC F-CELL PHEV features four operating modes: Battery, Charge, F-Cell and Hybrid. All operating modes are supported by an energy recovery function that allows energy to be recovered during braking or coasting, then store it in the lithium-ion battery.
In Battery mode, the Mercedes GLC F-CELL goes into all-electric operation, with power derived only from the high-voltage battery that is installed in the rear section of the SUV to save space. This mode is ideal when travelling over short distances. This lithium-ion battery – with a gross capacity of 13.5 kWh – can be charged through the 7.4 kW on-board charger at any standard household socket, a wallbox or at a public charging station. It takes around 1.5 hours to fully charge this battery, which sends power to an asynchronous motor that delivers 155 kW (211 hp) of max output and 365 Nm of torque. In Battery mode, the GLC F-CELL can travel up to 51 km of range, as per NEDC, enough for short trips and typical urban travel.
The new Mercedes GLC F-CELL can also go into F-Cell, during which the energy of the fuel cell is what keeps the state of charge of the lithium-ion battery. The SUV features a very compact fuel cell system housed in the engine bay for the first time. Interestingly, the fuel cell system is installed at the same mounting points as a conventional combustion engine. Two carbon-fiber-encased tanks are built into floor can be filled with up to 4.4 kg of hydrogen. Interestingly, these tanks can just be refilled within just three minutes, as made possible by globally standardized 700-bar tank technology.
In Hybrid move, the GLC F-CELL is served by both the power sources. The battery handles the power peaks, while the fuel cell ensures that the SUV achieves the optimum efficiency range. The hydrogen capacity of the tanks is enough to allow the GLC F-CELL to travel up to 478 km in hybrid mode.
Mercedes plans to sell the GLC F-CELL on all on major cities with hydrogen filling stations: Berlin, Cologne Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich and Stuttgart. SUV comes standard with a wide array of equipment, in form of a full-service rental model.