You may have noticed folks: gas isn’t getting any cheaper…
Imagine a time when you can pull up to a fueling station, load up your car and drive over 200 miles without polluting. Imagine having a car that’s just as much fun to drive as a 2-liter gas equivalent – with a low carbon footprint. It’s already been done of course as Honda demonstrated with their Hydrogen Electric Clarity which is only useable in California.
Driving from Florida to Washington State on hydrogen is a different matter.
Mercedes Benz equipped a B-Class car (a small hatchback available overseas) with a 100-kW/136-hp electric motor that makes 290 Newton Meters of torque – which is about 214 ft-lbs of torque. It averages the equivalent of over 60 mpg (if my conversion math is correct). The hydrogen tanks are placed between the axles and the energy they produce send power to lithium ion batteries that power the electric motor.
Believe it or not, this is a fairly simple method to power a car. There are very few moving parts and maintenance would be modular as each component could be pulled and replaced rapidly. As I said earlier, this is not a new technology – Mercedes Benz is out to prove that it’s a viable solution that could be ready for public consumption in the next few years.
There is a problem… hydrogen fueling stations are nearly nonexistent in the United States.
The Mercedes Benz F-Cell is getting most of its hydrogen from a mobile hydrogen tanker. The only place the Mercedes Benz F-Cell can pull up to a permanent hydrogen station is in Southern California. So, not only is Daimler demonstrating the viability of a hydrogen/electric vehicle, they are pointing out how much work we need to do in order to make this clean car a consumer reality.
Here’s Mercedes Benz’s take on the venture:
“During the F-CELL World Drive, three Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL vehicles are passing through 14 countries and 4 continents – to drive around the globe once. Organised by Mercedes-Benz, the circumnavigation of the world started on 30 January 2011 in Stuttgart and is scheduled to last 125 days, until the vehicles return to Stuttgart again at the beginning of June, after covering a distance of some 30,000 kilometres. “
“The aim of the tour is to demonstrate the technical maturity and suitability for everyday use of electric vehicles with fuel cells, and at the same time highlight the need for a comprehensive hydrogen infrastructure. The Stuttgart-based automotive manufacturer is being supported on the tour by Linde AG, which is responsible for supplying the hydrogen.” – – Daimler AG
The 30,000 kilometers, or 18,641 miles, is a neat test of the concept and a great way to demonstrate what needs to be done in order for the United States (and Canada) to drive clean. I like the fact that some Americans can see the excellent packaging of the Mercedes Benz B-Class. Maybe Daimler AG will consider bringing them to the States.
Keep an eye out for the rolling display of Mercedes Benz knowhow to pass by your town.
Starting February 25th, you can follow the F-CELL World Drive online:
Here’s a video TFLCar.com did about the current batch of fuel efficient vehicles in the U.S.A.