After spending 70 days driving through 14 countries on four continents, three Mercedes-Benz hydrogen cell vehicles have successfully completed their 30,000-kilometer (18,641-mile) F-CELL World Drive
. The trio of B-Class F-CELL automobiles
left Stuttgart on January 30th, along with an entourage of support vehicles. After traversing a variety of highways, city streets and even some unpaved country roads, they crossed the finish line in front of Stuttgart’s Mercedes-Benz Museum this Wednesday (June 1st).
What's it like to drive a hydrogen powered car? It depends on which one. In the case of BMW's Hydrogen 7, essentially a 760i with its 6.0 liter V12 tweaked to burn hydrogen instead of petrol, one might suspect it's pretty much like the donor vehicle. In the case of Mercedes-Benz's B Class-based F Cell
, powered by electricity from a lithium-ion battery pack fed by an on-board fuel cell, you might think different.
Having crossed Europe and North America, the Mercedes-Benz F-Cell roadshow
is now in Australia where the green-painted B-Class F-CELL cars are making the long trek from Sydney to Perth. Surrounding the small fleet is an entourage of more than a dozen vehicles including SUVs, Sprinter vans set up as mobile workshops and refuel stations and a semi-trailer laden with striking red full-length cylinders of hydrogen.
After much discussion about the latest iterations of battery-powered hybrid vehicles, you’d be forgiven for thinking that fuel cell technology had been left behind. Not so. Mercedes-Benz is launching what it says is the world’s first series-produced fuel cell car: the new B-Class F-CELL. This electric car has zero emissions, has a range of 400km, takes three minutes to refuel with hydrogen and consumes the equivalent of 3.3 liters of diesel per 100km in the NEDC (New European Driving Cycle).