Proof of the everyday usability of fuel-cell drive
During the F-CELL World Drive, Mercedes-Benz was able to provide an impressive demonstration of the qualities of its fuel cell vehicles in terms of performance and robustness. The World Drive vehicles drove not only in downtown areas, on country roads and lengthy stretches of highway, but also proved their capabilities driving on unfinished surfaces, for example on stages in Australia and China.
Hydrogen infrastructure challenge
Within the scope of the F-CELL World Drive, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL was functioning as an ambassador for a new, zero-emissions auto-mobility of the future. At the same time, Mercedes-Benz was lobbying extensively for the establishment of a comprehensive network of hydrogen fueling stations – a crucial factor for the market success of this technology. So far, there are only approximately 200 fuel stations worldwide at which fuel cell vehicles can be refueled.
According to expert calculations, a network of around 1,000 fixed fuel stations would be sufficient for basic nationwide coverage in Germany. A central aim of Mercedes-Benz is to see to it that, in future, drivers all over the world will be able to refuel with hydrogen – just as they do today with gasoline and diesel fuel.
The exclusive partner for hydrogen supply on the F-CELL World Drive was the Linde Group. Thanks to its hydrogen expertise and global presence, it was able to guarantee fuel supply throughout the entire world trip. A jointly developed mobile refueling unit based on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter accompanied the tour – the only way to ensure fuel supply even on the most remote stretches.
Linde and Daimler press ahead with development
of infrastructure for fuel-cell vehicles
Car manufacturer Daimler and the technology company The Linde Group are pressing ahead with the development of an infrastructure for hydrogen-powered fuel-cell vehicles. Over the coming three years, the two companies plan to construct an additional 20 hydrogen filling stations in Germany, thereby ensuring a supply of hydrogen produced purely from renewable resources for the steadily increasing number of fuel-cell vehicles on the roads.
The initiative that Linde and Daimler are embarking upon involves investment running into the tens of millions, and is set to more than triple the number of public hydrogen refuelling points in Germany. The new stations will be located in the current hydrogen centres of Stuttgart, Berlin and Hamburg as well as along two new continuous north-south and east-west axes.
The aim is to use existing sites belonging to different petroleum companies that are strategically located in the traffic network. This will make it possible to drive anywhere in Germany with a fuel-cell-powered vehicle for the first time. One of the focal points for the infrastructure's extension will be in Baden-Württemberg, where, 125 years after the invention of the motor car, the stage is being set for its reinvention.
Construction and commissioning of the new filling stations will already start in 2012. Other partners from the petroleum, power supply or automotive industries, for instance, are welcome to become involved in the joint initiative that has been set up by Daimler and Linde.
Background: the infrastructure of hydrogen filling stations in Germany
The successful introduction of fuel-cell vehicles depends on the development of a public hydrogen supply infrastructure. The first centres have already sprung up in large metropolitan areas, such as Berlin and Hamburg. There are nearly 30 hydrogen refuelling points in Germany at the current time, seven of which are integrated into a public filling station facility. This means that Germany clearly leads the way in Europe. To begin with, just five to ten filling stations are sufficient for conveniently servicing the requirements of a large city. Joining up these urban centres – for example Berlin with Hamburg, Stuttgart with Munich – by means of corridors along the arterial roads between them is a major step forward towards the establishment of a nationwide public H2 infrastructure.