On 22 April the F-CELL World Drive will depart from the "Auto Shanghai" show in China for the last and longest leg of its round-the-world tour. From Shanghai the route will take it via Kazakhstan and Russia back to Europe, where the tour began in January. In 41 days the three fuel cell powered B-Class F-CELL cars will cover around 14,000 kilometres on this final leg. The F-CELL World Drive is one of the highlights of the show in Shanghai. Before starting off from China the cars already absolved around 5300 kilometres in Australia, and were transported to another continent by air for the last time of the tour. Previously the tour had successfully
covered southern Europe and North America.
Since 30 January, the start of the F-CELL World Drive, these "green" fuel cell cars have gained worldwide attention. In addition to the world premiere of the "Concept A-Class" and the Chinese premieres of the new C-Class, the SLK and the CLS, they will also be highlights of the "Auto Shanghai" show.
The "Auto Shanghai" show also illustrates the high level of interest in fuel cell technology in China. An emission-free mobility solution also makes good sense in view of the high levels of fine dust pollution in Chinese cities, as well as the fast-growing number of car owners. Moreover, China is one of the most important markets for Mercedes-Benz, and also has great potential with respect to battery-powered electric vehicles.
F-CELL World Drive begins its homeward journey
Within 41 days the F-CELL World Drive will be crossing two continents and seven countries on the last leg of its journey. This means that the "green" B-Class F-CELL cars will not only capture attention in China, but also in Kazakhstan, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Germany. Local events in these various countries will ensure that fuel cell technology makes a lasting impression. In early June the tour will reach its starting and finishing point in Stuttgart.
The F-CELL World Drive not only passes through the major cities, but also through remote areas of the individual countries concerned. Accordingly the tour is also confronted with the challenge of unfamiliar road conditions and an inadequate supply infrastructure. To an even greater extent than before, the final leg of the journey will require an anticipatory style of driving - and this also applies to the vehicles with conventional internal combustion engines. Moreover, the backup navigation unit provided has no map material for Kazakhstan, therefore the participants must pay even more attention here. Just in case, maps of the countries concerned will be carried in each vehicle.
From Sydney to Perth: F-CELL World Drive crosses Australia
In Australia too, the tour was able to make acquaintance with remote regions when the F-CELL World Drive crossed southern Australia from Sydney to Perth between 29 March and 9 April, covering more than 5300 kilometres. In Adelaide the participants were able to celebrate the "half-way mark" of the 125-day tour. Previously the vehicles had crossed southern Europe and the USA, successfully covering a total of around 11,000 kilometres. In every city the F-CELL World Drive was given a hearty welcome.
Mercedes-Benz F-CELL World Drive
During the F-CELL World Drive, three Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL cars are journeying through 14 countries on 4 continents – once around the globe. This round-the-world tour organised by Mercedes-Benz started off in Stuttgart on 30 January 2011, and will take 125 days – marking the 125th anniversary of the automobile – until the cars arrive back in Stuttgart in early June after covering 30,000 kilometres. The aim is to demonstrate the technical maturity and day-to-day suitability of fuel cell powered electric cars, and also to draw attention to the need for a widespread hydrogen infrastructure. The company is being assisted with the hydrogen supply for the tour by Linde AG.