The Mercedes GLC F-Cell finishes its development before being the first Fuel Cell hybrid and plug-in of the market

from Frankfurt Motor Show


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Mercedes-Benz will unveil the Mercedes GLC F-Cell in its pre-production version at the Frankfurt Motor Show. This GLC combines the hydrogen fuel cell and batteries of an electric car to become a hybrid hydrogen / electric plug-in.

The fuel cell technology is not new in the Daimler group, since they have more than 30 years developing prototypes and investigating mobility with fuel cells. Following the success of the tests carried out with a Mercedes-Class B fleet, it was even about to be launched in 2014. Finally, the Mercedes GLC F-Cell EQ Power will have that honor.

Fuel cell and hybrid

Most manufacturers are betting on having one or more plug-in hybrid models in their future ranges, as well as the feeling that they will end up being the norm. But only a few are betting on the hydrogen fuel cell.

The Honda Clarity FCV and Toyota Mirai, which we tested briefly in Zaragoza, are currently the only two fuel cell models available on the market (well, in select markets). Following its presentation at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the Mercedes GLC F-Cell EQ Power will be the third in contention. And almost literally, it will be a hybrid -fuel cell / electric plug.

Instead of the classic combustion engine of the rest of the GLC range, the Mercedes GLC F-Cell equips a fuel cell that generates electricity thanks to the chemical reaction between oxygen and hydrogen (stored at a pressure of 700 bar in two carbon fiber tanks).

In the prototype of the F-Cell GLC, the lithium-ion battery, rechargeable in progress or via an external outlet, has a capacity of 9 kWh that would provide a range of 50 km in electric mode (500 km if we use hydrogen).

Two years of development

Mercedes-Benz has not spared the development of this F-Cell GLC. It has behind it two years of intensive development in which, for example, 200 tons of hydrogen have been consumed and analyzed 8.5 terabytes of data.

Logically, the safety of hydrogen deposits (stored at high pressures and always refrigerated) has been a development priority. Thus, the F-Cell GLC was subjected to up to 40 different shock scenarios (varying angles, speed, etc.) and subjected to thermal shocks with up to 75° C difference between the outside temperature and its operating temperature.

The goal is that in the end, the Mercedes GLC F-Cell is a zero emissions car. Or as much as emitting water vapor. However, I can not help thinking that this F-Cell GLC will have a very small market considering the network of hydrogeneras in most countries. The idea of doing this plug-in hybrid can be an incentive for some company, with hydrogeneras close to their activity, to include them in their fleets. Anyway, the goal of GLC F-Cell is not to sell, but to open the way.