Automotive

Mercedes prepares hydrogen plug-in hybrid for Frankfurt debut

Mercedes prepares hydrogen plu...
The Mercedes GLC F-Cell will be launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show 
The Mercedes GLC F-Cell will be launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show 
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The Mercedes GLC F-Cell will be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show 
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The Mercedes GLC F-Cell will be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show 
The GLC F-Cell has been subjected to a rigorous pre-launch testing process 
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The GLC F-Cell has been subjected to a rigorous pre-launch testing process 
The GLC F-Cell being put through its paces in the rain 
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The GLC F-Cell being put through its paces in the rain 
The Mercedes GLC F-Cell will be launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show 
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The Mercedes GLC F-Cell will be launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show 
The Mercedes GLC F-Cell being put through its paces 
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The Mercedes GLC F-Cell being put through its paces 
Mercedes puts the fuel cell powertrain in the F-Cell to the test 
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Mercedes puts the fuel cell powertrain in the F-Cell to the test 
The hydrogen tanks in the F-Cell are stored in a special subframe 
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The hydrogen tanks in the F-Cell are stored in a special subframe 
Mercedes' testing routine takes it from Spain, to Sweden and back again 
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Mercedes' testing routine takes it from Spain, to Sweden and back again 
The GLC F-Cell is put to the test in the snow 
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The GLC F-Cell is put to the test in the snow 
The F-Cell will look like a regular GLC on the outside 
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The F-Cell will look like a regular GLC on the outside 
A fleet of F-Cells being put through their paces
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A fleet of F-Cells being put through their paces
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Mercedes-Benz is putting the finishing touches on a hybrid fuel cell version of the GLC ahead of its debut in Frankfurt. We don't know many details about the car yet, but Mercedes has pulled back the curtain on the development process leading up to its launch.

The F-Cell will take a unique approach to hydrogen power. Along with the hydrogen fuel cell, the car will have a battery capable of holding enough charge for shorter-range driving, just like the petrol plug-in hybrid powertrains currently popular across the luxury landscape. Mercedes hasn't released details about hydrogen-powered or pure-battery range yet.

Getting the car ready for production is a long, arduous process. In news that will surprise nobody, modern cars start life as a model on a computer screen. Before the first prototype is built, the car has been virtually crash tested, modeled for aerodynamics and chassis-tested. It goes without saying, a computer car crash is much cheaper than a real-world one.

Once they've made the jump into the real world, individual components are put through a series of tests on specially-designed rigs. The company says these rigs, many of which are housed in Nabern, east of Stuttgart, Germany, help speed up the development process.

Crash testing is a crucial part of any car's development, and the GLC F-Cell is no different. To make sure they stand up in an accident, its pressurized hydrogen tanks are stored in a special subframe between the axles, and the car is outfitted with special circuits for the requisite high-voltage system. Mercedes says this delivers a "level of safety comparable to that of conventional vehicles."

The GLC F-Cell being put through its paces in the rain 
The GLC F-Cell being put through its paces in the rain 

Having made the first prototypes ready for road use, Mercedes sets about testing its cars in a wide range of weather conditions. Along with tests in Spain, Sweden and Germany, the team uses the Mercedes-Benz Technology Center in Sidelfingen to simulate temperatures between -40 and +60° C ( -40 and 140° F). Testing also included tropical downpours, snow and hurricane-force winds.

We'll see the end result of all this testing at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Stay tuned for all the latest from the show, where New Atlas will be on the ground covering all the action.

Source: Daimler

View gallery - 11 images
3 comments
swaan
Unique approach? Technically all FCVs are battery powered until the fuel cell comes online (who would want to wait a minute or two for the car to start?) so the only difference here is that the FC stack is smaller and the battery larger.
George Kafantaris
A hydrogen fuel cell car with “a battery capable of holding enough charge for shorter-range driving” -- the same battery that would also extend the car’s range -- is the smart way to go, but Tesla would never get there because early on Elon Musk had taken an aversion to hydrogen. And nobody at Tesla would tell him he is dead wrong.
dominic
It takes 3 times the energy to run a fuel cell car than an electric. Not mentioning the explosion hazards. It's a scientific absurdity. Just put some more batteries and get rid of the hydrogen crap. The ONLY reason why fool cell cars exist is that 95% of the hydrogen is obtained by reforming methane. Gas companies... and the same petro distribution network. Slave to the pump again, and slave to the yo-yo price of the fuel.