Daimler's F-CELL A-Class
Since 2003, Daimler, the new name for Mercedes-Benz, has been testing 60 F-CELL fuel cell vehicles in a vehicle development program throughout the world. It has delivered these to customers in Japan, Singapore, Europe and the United States for trials. Daimler set up maintenance workshops in each country where there were F-CELL trials in order to support fuel cell powered servicing requirements. The German government has approved the installation of a hydrogen fuel infrastructure throughout the country (much like California’s Blueprint) and Daimler will be one of the leading automobile manufacturers for the trials in this project.
The F-CELL is based upon an extended version of the current Daimler A-Class chassis. It has a Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) hydrogen fuel cell that powers the vehicle and provides 72kW (97hp) output power. An electric motor, rated at 65kW (87 hp) drives the front wheels. There are two onboard hydrogen fuel tanks pressurized at 350 bar (5000 psi), and the F-CELL vehicle has a range of 177 km (111 miles) and a top speed of 140 kph (87 mph).
Onboard, the Daimler F-CELL A Class has regenerative braking that provides charging capability when applying the brakes and the vehicle has an energy storage system that works in conjunction with the fuel cell using nickel metal hydride (NiMh) batteries. The entire fuel cell power system for the F-CELL A-Class fits under the vehicle driving compartment and no interior space is lost from the original petrol (gasoline) version. At the recent EVS 23 Electric Vehicle show in Anaheim, California, Daimler had one of their F-CELL vehicles that had completed a fuel cell world record of 2,350,000 driven miles. (see photo).