Detroit – At the end of January Mercedes-Benz will give the starter's signal for what until now is an unparalleled long-distance journey – the F-CELL World Drive. This is what the automotive manufacturer from Stuttgart announced at the North American Auto Show in Detroit. Mercedes-Benz will circumnavigate the world with the first series-produced fuel cell vehicle, the B-Class F-CELL. The aim of the F-CELL World Drive is to demonstrate the efficiency and suitability for everyday use of fuel cell technology, and at the same time campaign for the development of a global hydrogen filling station network.
To demonstrate the technical maturity of the B-Class F-CELL - which currently already enables local emission-free driving in everyday use as well as on long distances - the inventor of the automobile will be setting off on the F-CELL World Drive in the B-Class
F-CELL on January 30. The journey will last 125 days, driving through four continents and the widest variety of climate zones as well as an equally diverse mixture of routes, ranging from asphalt streets to unpaved roads. "With this unique circumnavigation of the world we are emphasizing the high level of technical maturity of our electric vehicles with fuel cell. Such an undertaking would not be possible, using purely battery-powered electric vehicles.", explains Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Group Research and Development Mercedes-Benz Cars. "Today, as with the invention of automobile 125 years ago, the issue of a corresponding fueling infrastructure arises. But I am confident that together with all of the parties involved we will find a solution that enables us to fully exploit the tremendous potential of this technology."
The exceptional long-distance journey will take the fuel cell vehicles through 14 countries: from southern Europe, through France, Spain and Portugal, the cars will continue on to North America, where they will drive through both the USA as well as Canada. After crossing Australia the cars will reach the continent of Asia. From China they will then pass through Kazakhstan, Russia and finally northern Europe, until the tour will return to Stuttgart at the beginning of June, where the 125-day round-the-world tour will come to an end.
Around the world with hydrogen
The B-Class F-CELL combines a high, emission-free range of around 400 km with short refilling times and as such is highly suitable for both everyday use in urban areas as well as longer journeys. At the heart of the B-Class F-CELL is the new-generation electric drive system powered by a fuel cell, which is compact, powerful, safe and fully suited to everyday use. The fuel cell generates the electrical power on board from a chemical reaction between oxygen and hydrogen.
Mercedes-Benz has adopted an ingenious approach to the lack of hydrogen filling stations on the route: acting as the exclusive supplier for the provision of hydrogen is the project partner Linde AG, which is able to guarantee a reliable supply thanks to its sites and subsidiaries located throughout the world. On remote routes a tank vehicle, which has been specially developed for the tour in cooperation with Linde AG, will be on hand to supply the fuel cell vehicles with the necessary hydrogen.