Development of the fuel cell technology
Daimler has been investigating the use of fuel cell technology to power road vehicles since 1994. The Group’s pioneering achievements are underscored by 180 patent applications in this field of technology.
The first electric vehicle with fuel cell from Mercedes-Benz in 1994 was more of a mobile research laboratory. With the B-Class F-CELL in 2009, the company presents a vehicle which is fully suitable for everyday use. With the research vehicle F 125! it gives an outlook on future mobility with fuel cell.
In the course of broad-based practical trials with fuel cell vehicles, a total of 100 passenger cars, buses, and vans have been on the move in everyday use with customers, during which time they have already covered more than 4.5 million kilometers and provided important insights for the ongoing development of the emission-free drivetrain. This provided the basis for manufacture of the first series-produced fuel cell vehicle, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL, as of late 2009.
Standardized plugs for the charging cable, for example, are an initial step towards establishing a close-knit infrastructure. Advances in efficiency will be provided by the innovative lithium-ion flat cell.
The energy storage medium is the key to electrification of the drivetrain. To secure its pioneering role over the long term, Daimler acquired a 49.9 percent share in the Evonik subsidiary Li-Tec in 2008. The joint venture “Deutsche Accumotive GmbH & Co. KG” was also established, in which Daimler holds a 90 percent share. The aim of this cooperation is the development and production of lithium-ion batteries specifically designed for use on board road vehicles. As of 2012, Daimler will thus have at its disposal exclusive production capacities for advanced lithium-ion batteries, which can then be manufactured according to requirements for all automotive applications – from hybrid to electric automobiles, and for both passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Daimler thus has direct access to the key technology for emission-free driving.