Mercedes-Benz launches GLC F-Cell: Combines electricity and hydrogen
And now for something completely different. While everyone else is seemingly in a race for pure EV domination in the years to come, Mercedes-Benz has handed over the first GLC F-Cell to selected customers in the German market.
The Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell is a unique plug-in hybrid, as it can also run on pure hydrogen. The interplay between battery and fuel cell and its long range and short refuelling times make the GLC F-Cell a compellingly practicality vehicle.
Two carbon-fibre-encased tanks in the vehicle floor hold 4.4 kg of hydrogen. This can be refilled in just three minutes thanks to 700-bar tank technology and can achieve around 267 miles purely on this fuel.
In hybrid mode it delivers an additional 30 miles on a fully charged battery. At the same time, an output of 155 kW helps to ensure high driving dynamics.
Commenting, Ola Källenius, member of the board of management of Daimler AG, said: "Our many years of experience with fuel-cell technology pay dividends in the new GLC F-Cell: its long electric range, short refuelling times and everyday practicality of an SUV will make it the perfect vehicle.
“This is made possible by the compact construction of our fuel-cell system. Another genuine world first is the combination with a large additional lithium-ion battery, which can be conveniently charged using plug-in technology."
The innovative plug-in fuel-cell powertrain combines the advantages of both emission-free technologies and, thanks to its intelligent operating strategy, constantly ensures that the use of both energy sources is optimally adapted to the particular operating situation.
In HYBRID operating mode, the vehicle draws power from both energy sources. Power peaks are handled by the battery, while the fuel cell runs in the optimum efficiency range. The intelligent operating strategy means that the characteristics of both energy sources can be ideally exploited.
In F-CELL mode, the state of charge of the high-voltage battery is kept constant by the energy from the fuel cell. Driving almost exclusively on hydrogen is the ideal mode if the intention is to keep the electric range in reserve for certain driving situations.
In BATTERY mode, the GLC F-Cell runs all-electrically and is powered by the high-voltage battery. The fuel-cell system is not in operation. This is the ideal mode for short distances.
In CHARGE mode, charging the high-voltage battery has priority, for example in order to recharge the battery for the maximum overall range prior to refuelling with hydrogen. This mode also creates power reserves for uphill or very dynamic driving.
In all operating modes, the system features an energy recovery function, which makes it possible to recover energy during braking or coasting and to store it in the battery.
The GLC F-Cell is receiving a soft launch in Germany initially, with various national and regional ministries and organisations based in infrastructure-equipped cities being the first to test it.
In line with this soft launch, the GLC F-Cell will be offered exclusively via Mercedes’ full-service rental service. This will include all maintenance and possible repairs together with a comprehensive warranty package covering the entire rental period.
From the spring of 2019, other business as well as private customers will also be able to rent the vehicle long or short term via Mercedes-Benz Rent. The vehicle will be available from one of the seven GLC F-Cell outlets throughout Germany.
It can be assumed that if this gradual roll-out is a success we could see the GLC F-Cell on UK shores as early as 2020, with the network of hydrogen filling stations scheduled to reach 100 by the end of this year and up to 400 by 2023 thanks to a £23m boost for the UK hydrogen infrastructure incoming.