Mercedes-Benz has announced that it is to undertake a unique journey to become the first to circumnavigate the world in a fuel cell vehicle.
Beginning the end of January, the German car maker’s ‘F-Cell World Drive’ will see its B-Class F-Cell car vehicle embark on the journey to prove the efficiency and sustainability of fuel cell technology and to campaign for a global network of hydrogen filling stations.
To demonstrate the maturity of the technology, and the real-world potential of its hydrogen-fuelled series production model, Mercedes announced the round the world challenge at the Detroit Motor Show this week.
The journey will last 125 days, driving through four continents and the widest variety of climate zones as well as an equally diverse mixture of routes, ranging from asphalt streets to unpaved roads.
“With this unique circumnavigation of the world we are emphasizing the high level of technical maturity of our electric vehicles with fuel cell. Such an undertaking would not be possible, using purely battery-powered electric vehicles.”, explains Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Group Research and Development Mercedes-Benz Cars.
“Today, as with the invention of automobile 125 years ago, the issue of a corresponding fuelling infrastructure arises. But I am confident that together with all of the parties involved we will find a solution that enables us to fully exploit the tremendous potential of this technology.”
The B-Class F-CELL combines a high, emission-free range of around 400 km with short refilling times and as such is highly suitable for both everyday use in urban areas as well as longer journeys. At the heart of the B-Class F-CELL is the new-generation electric drive system powered by a fuel cell, which is compact, powerful, safe and fully suited to everyday use. The fuel cell generates the electrical power on board from a chemical reaction between oxygen and hydrogen.
Mercedes-Benz has adopted an ingenious approach to the lack of hydrogen filling stations on the route: acting as the exclusive supplier for the provision of hydrogen is the project partner Linde AG, which is able to guarantee a reliable supply thanks to its sites and subsidiaries located throughout the world. On remote routes a tank vehicle, which has been specially developed for the tour in cooperation with Linde AG, will be on hand to supply the fuel cell vehicles with the necessary hydrogen.