Commercial fuel cell car roll-out imminent, Daimler hints

September 05, 2017 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
In the development history of the fuel cell drive, which was not exactly poor at surprising turnarounds, Daimler has once again made a U-turn. At the IAA, the company wants to showcase a vehicle in which the hydrogen drive is coupled with a plug-in hybrid engine. Surprise: The vehicle is characterized to be a near-series version.

The Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell, which Daimler will be presenting to the public at the IAA, is an all-electric car, with the electric power to drive the motors is generated by a hydrogen fuel cell. The fuel cell is complemented by the capability to charge the battery from a household receptacle or commercial charging station. Thus, the vehicle has an overall driving range is comparable to a similar car with conventional combustion engine – more than 400 kilometers, a company spokesperson said.  

Daimler does not give much information about the further technical details of the car, but the car manufacturer goes all the more into detail with regard to the development process and readiness for series production. This suggests that the GLC F-Cell will indeed go into series production soon.

According to the vehicle manufacturer, the car has already passed more than 500 individual tests, including all the standard tests that all vehicles have undergone, as well as special test series to put the electric drive components through their paces. The development engineers paid particular attention to the safety of the hydrogen-carrying parts such as tanks, pipes, seals and valves.

The hydrogen tanks are installed in the impact protected area between the vehicle axles and receive additional protection by a subframe around the tanks. In the event of a crash, further extensive measures were implemented, such as a multi-stage valve system and special electrical protection circuits to protect the high-voltage network. Crash tests carried out with the GLC F-CELL pre-series model and earlier hydrogen-powered vehicles show that the safety level is comparable to that of conventional vehicles.

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