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Mercedes Benz Launches its GLC F-Cell EV, Featuring Both Fuel Cell & Plug-in Hybrid Technology

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【Summary】Mercedes Benz delivered its first fuel cell vehicle to a customer in Germany, becoming the first automaker to deliver an all-electric vehicle that can run on hydrogen or battery power.

Eric Walz    Nov 13, 2018 11:47 AM PT
Mercedes Benz Launches its GLC F-Cell EV, Featuring Both Fuel Cell & Plug-in Hybrid Technology

Mercedes Benz delivered its first fuel cell vehicle to a customer in Germany, becoming the first automaker to deliver an all-electric vehicle that can run on hydrogen or battery power. The new SUV is called the GLC F-Cell.

The GLC F-Cell is the world's first production vehicle that features both fuel cells and battery power, which can be charged externally using plug-in technology. The first customers in the German market include Deutsche Bahn, the German railway company headquartered in Berlin. Further deliveries will be made this year, including to the companies Air Liquide, Shell, Linde AG and also the cities of Stuttgart and Hamburg.

The Mercedes-Benz GLC F-CELL SUV is suitable for everyday use and emits no CO2 emissions. Daimler engineers combined both battery power with fuel cell technology to give the GLC F-Cell a long range.

The F-Cell includes two carbon-fiber-encased tanks mounted in the vehicle floor which hold 4.4 kg of hydrogen. With a hydrogen consumption of around 1 kg/100 km, the GLC F-CELL achieves around 430 hydrogen-based kilometers in the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) cycle. In hybrid mode, the F-Cell delivers up to 51 km on a fully charged battery.

The hydrogen supply can be replenished within just three minutes at a hydrogen refilling station, about the same amount of times it takes to refuel a gasoline powered vehicle.

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The GLC F-CELL

The F-Cell includes are four distinct operating modes:

HYBRID: the vehicle draws power from both energy sources. Power peaks are handled by the on-board battery, while the fuel cell runs in the optimum efficiency range.

F-CELL: the state of charge of the high-voltage battery is kept constant by the energy from the fuel cell. In this mode, only hydrogen is consumed. This mode is ideal for steady cruising on the highway over long distances.

BATTERY: the GLC F-CELL runs all-electrically and is powered by the high-voltage battery. In this mode, the fuel cell system is not in operation. Mercedes says this is the ideal mode for short distances.

CHARGE: 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 or to create power reserves.

Like other electric vehicles, the system features an regenerative energy recovery system, which makes it possible to recover energy during braking or coasting and to store it in the battery.

Building a Network of Hydrogen Refueling Stations

One of the concerns surrounding hydrogen fuel cell vehicles finding a convenient place to refill with hydrogen. For this reason, the market launch of the GLC F-CELL is taking place in selected metropolitan regions, which are already well equipped with enough hydrogen filling stations, such as Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Munich and Cologne.

The expansion of EV charging stations as well hydrogen refuelling stations is already underway. By the end of 2019, the hydrogen refueling station network in Germany is already expected to grow from 50 to around 100 stations. The long-term objective of the partners is a network of up to 400 hydrogen refuelling stations. Similar infrastructure projects are being promoted in Europe, the USA and Japan.

Daimler is part of Hydrogen Mobility Europe (H2ME), a lighthouse project promoted by FCH JU which combines Europe's leading initiatives in the field of hydrogen mobility – in Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Scandinavia.

The FCH JU is promoting the expansion of a large-scale H2 filling station infrastructure and the development of fuel cell vehicles such as the GLC F-CELL with the goal of enabling emission-free driving throughout Europe.

Beginning in early 2019, the GLC F-CELL will be offered exclusively in the form of a full-service rental model. The GLC F-CELL will be available for both short and long-term rental via the Premium Car Rental service from Mercedes-Benz. The rental includes all maintenance and a comprehensive warranty package covering the entire rental period.

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