By 2017, Mercedes-Benz will start selling its GLC F-Cell – the world’s first-ever plug-in hybrid fuel cell car. For the GLC F Cell, Mercedes-Benz worked with Daimler to devise an all-new fuel cell system that is roughly 30 percent more compact than before, which means that all of it can be placed in the engine bay for the first time.
The Mercedes-Benz electric vehicle platform, or “multi-model vehicle architecture” is similar in many ways to the Tesla Motors layout. The battery pack is flat on the bottom floor pan, and the electric motors are at the front and rear of the car. The car has two carbon fiber tanks, which are built into the vehicle’s floor and take up to four kilograms (8.8 pounds) of liquid hydrogen stored a pressure of 700 bar. One tank is mounted down the F-Cell’s centerline, while the other is mounted at the rear the car.
According to Mercedes-Benz, the hydrogen fuel tank can be refilled in about three minutes. Specs-wise, the Mercedes GLC F-Cell will have a combined range of about 500 kilometers (310 miles), including an all-electric range of about 30 miles. The automaker managed to shrink the size of its fuel-cell stack by about 30 percent so that fits within “conventional engine compartments.” The stack itself uses 90 percent less platinum than traditional stacks.
The car will also mark another world first: the use of a nine kWh lithium-ion battery pack that can be charged from the grid, further enhancing the car’s eco-credentials.
Like current fuel cell models from Honda, Hyundai, and Toyota, it will likely be available in limited quantities, and only in regions where there are enough hydrogen fueling stations. Mercedes hasn’t confirmed plans to sell the F-Cell in the U.S. Mercedes-Benz will likely reveal more details on the GLC F-Cell at the 2016 Paris Motor Show this September.