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Saturday, May 02, 2009
F-CELL Hydrogen Roadster
Image: © 2009 Daimler AG

Mercedes-Benz's High-Tech F-CELL Hydrogen Roadster

WIESLOCH, GERMANY - Mercedes-Benz recently performed a road test of their hydrogen prototype zero-emissions F-CELL Roadster on an historic journey between Mannheim and Wiesloch in Germany. The road test followed the Mannheim to Pforzheim route Bertha Benz and her two son's made in 1888 driving the Carl Benz designed 'Patent Motor Wagon'. For Mercedes-Benz, it was a demonstration of their progress in automotive engineering, where the F-CELL Roadster represents a successful implementation of hydrogen as an efficient fuel source, allowing Mercedes-Benz to scale-up this and other zero-emissions technologies into their vehicles of the future.

The hydrogen powered F-CELL Roadster was built by the apprentices of the Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen plant, with additional support of Mercedes-Benz's Research & Development. The F-CELL Roadster represents efficient engineering design with significant attention to the base elements of low weight and a concentration on design minimization to achieve low energy consumption. 

The F-CELL Roadster has ultra-strong spoked wheels and thin high pressure tires that deliver extremely low rolling resistance. Inside the vehicle are two carbon-fibre seat bases that are covered in hand-stitched leather upholstery. Outside, the F-CELL Roadster has a glass-fibre nose cone, similar in design to that which is found on a modern day Formula 1 car. The Roadster's hydrogen fuel cell powertrain unit is mounted just behind the passenger compartment.

Steering on the Mercedes-Benz F-CELL Roadster is by joystick control and the input to the steering gear uses drive-by-wire technology. The Mercedes-Benz 1.2 kW fuel cell engine is Mercedes-Benz's latest technology and this powers the car to a top speed of 25 km/h (15.6 mph), with an operating range of 350 km (218.8 miles). The F-CELL Roadster's fuel cell engine is fed from a pressurized tank of hydrogen, and uses an internal proton exchange membrane and a platinum electrode, converting the hydrogen to electricity (power) and water vapour as a byproduct.

In other news, Mercedes-Benz will start selling a limited series production of hydrogen powered B-Class fuel cell cars by the end of this year in some target markets.

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