If you were having trouble wrapping your head around the idea of electric vehicles, this might take a moment or two to process.
Mercedes-Benz is getting ready to roll out the world’s first production Plug-In Electric Fuel-Cell Vehicle, which runs on electricity AND hydrogen.
The GLC F-Cell prototype is equipped with a plug-in 9 kWh lithium-ion battery pack in the rear of the crossover, along with a hydrogen fuel-cell stack that sits in the floor. Both help power the motor up front.
There are two big advancements to note with the upcoming GLC F-Cell.
First, Mercedes’ parent company Daimler worked with Ford to shrink the size of its fuel-cell stack by about 30 percent so it would fit within “conventional engine compartments.” Two carbon-fibre-encased tanks built into the vehicle floor hold around 4 kg of hydrogen. (Refilling at a hydrogen station, by the way, should take about three minutes.)
Secondly, research teams reduced the amount of platinum used in the stack by 90-percent which makes it cheaper to build.
The GLC F-Cell will provide about a 310-mile range combined and an all-electric 30-mile range.
Mercedes already touts that between its B-Class F-CELL and the Citaro Fuel CELL-Hybrid urban, it’s collectively racked up more than 7.46 million miles on fuel-cell power.
The B-Class F-Cell was the first electric fuel-cell vehicle from Mercedes-Benz to be built under series-production conditions. But it wasn’t a plug-in. The battery simply stored braking energy. Actress Diane Kruger helped get the word out about the early technology in 2012. At that point, Mercedes’ F-CELL technology had a 200-240-mile range before refueling.
While there is no official pricing yet, reports late last year suggested the GLC F-Cell might cost double of the conventional GLC, so that would put it in the $75,000 ballpark.
Daimler will roll out the next-generation fuel-cell technology next year on the Mercedes GLC F-Cell, with more vehicles to follow.