GLC F-CELL goes into preproduction.
At this year’s IAA International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Mercedes-Benz is presenting preproduction models of the new GLC F-CELL as the next milestone on the road to emission-free driving. Under the technology designation EQ Power, the latest electric model (destined for subsequent series production) from the Mercedes-Benz family is doubly electrifying, for, in a world first, it is set to combine innovative fuel-cell and battery technology in the form of a plug-in hybrid: in addition to hydrogen, the all-electric variant of the popular SUV will also run on electricity. Intelligent interplay between battery and fuel cell, along with short refuelling times, will in future make the GLC F-CELL a vehicle of high everyday practicality and also suitable for long-distance motoring. With 4.4 kg of hydrogen on board, the preproduction model produces enough energy for a range of up to 437* km in the NEDC. F-CELL drivers will also benefit from a range of up to 49 km in the NEDC thanks to the large lithium-ion battery.
*Measurement in presence of TÜV.
World’s first electric vehicle with fuel-cell/battery powertrain.
Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, emphasises: “Our many years of experience with fuel-cell technology pay dividends in the new GLC F-CELL: its long electric range, short refuelling times and everyday practicality of an SUV will make it the perfect vehicle. This is made possible by the compact construction of our fuel-cell system. Another genuine world first is the combination with a large additional lithium-ion battery, which can be conveniently charged using plug-in technology.”
Unique: Two electric energy sources.
The vehicles unveiled at the IAA represent a world first in which a fuel-cell-operated electric car uses a lithium-ion battery as an additional energy source that can be externally charged by means of plug-in technology. Through intelligent interplay, the two energy sources drive the electric motor while offering locally zero emissions driving pleasure. The long range, short refuelling time, an output of 147 kW (200 hp) and the latest generation of assistance systems with powertrain-specific features demonstrate, based on the models on show, that the GLC F-CELL will be a family-friendly electric vehicle of high everyday practicality. In unveiling the preproduction vehicles of the GLC F-CELL, Daimler is taking another important step as part of its systematic “CASE” strategy.
More powerful and compact than ever before.
The lithium-ion battery in the preproduction vehicles on show has a gross capacity of 13.8 kWh and additionally serves as an energy source for the electric motor. For the first time, it can also be charged externally using plug-in technology. An intelligent operating strategy in combination with the fuel-cell/battery system offers maximum efficiency and comfort.
Just like the drive motor, the powerful storage battery is space-savingly installed in the rear of the SUV. By means of the 7.2 kW on-board chargers, it can be conveniently charged from a standard household power socket, a wallbox or a public charging station. The charging time is around 1.5 hours if the full capacity is used.
Up to 437 km of range.
Two carbon-fibre-encased tanks built into the vehicle floor hold around 4.4 kg of hydrogen. Thanks to globally standardised 700 bar tank technology, the supply of hydrogen can be replenished within just three minutes, which is about the same amount of time it takes to refuel a car with an internal combustion engine. The F-CELL vehicles on show at the IAA are powered by an asynchronous machine with an output of 147 kW (200 hp) and a torque of 350 Nm. As the electric drive requires no propeller shaft, this makes room for one of the two hydrogen tanks, while the second tank is installed under the rear seat bench.
Daimler applies extremely high safety standards in all its vehicles. This is true of both vehicles with a conventional internal combustion engine and also those with an alternative drive. This means that the vehicles comply with all legal standards and regulations. However, the internal safety requirements for Mercedes-Benz vehicles go one step further. Especially the crash-related requirements are aligned to the so-called Real Life Safety philosophy. The battery and all hydrogen-containing components are governed by particularly stringent safety standards typical of Mercedes-Benz. Alongside safety in the event of a crash, all Mercedes-Benz vehicles undergo additional component tests at system level that go far beyond the usual tests. The powertrain components and hydrogen tanks of the F-CELL preproduction vehicles are space-savingly and safely housed in the engine compartment as well as under the floor.
Self-assured: With the DNA of a genuine Mercedes-Benz.
The GLC F-CELL models on show at the IAA demonstrate that the high expectations on a Mercedes-Benz and all Mercedes-Benz brand values in terms of comfort, sustainability, safety, quality and design are met. When it comes to loading capacity and occupant comfort, the electric SUV will offer excellent everyday practicality. The only differences will be a minimal step in the luggage compartment, familiar from the GLC Plug-in-Hybrid, and the slightly raised rear seat bench due to the positioning of the hydrogen tanks. Climate comfort in the GLC F-CELL will also be totally on a par with that in a conventional vehicle. Automatic air conditioning with pre-entry climate control as well as heated seats and mirrors are included as standard. At cooler temperatures, the vehicle will make energy-efficient use of the waste heat from the fuel cell in order to optimise the energy balance of the vehicle.
Unmistakable: Touches in the style of EQ Power.
The F-CELL models on show at the IAA embody the current Mercedes-Benz design philosophy of Sensual Purity. The design premises include features that emphasise the special status in general and within the GLC family in particular. These design premises are the formal on-road attributes and the technical modifications to the exterior and interior as well as the control and display concept. Blue touches on the radiator grille and light-alloy wheels, side skirts and rear bumper on the one hand, as well as classy style wraps with F-CELL inscription on the other, provide a clearly visible indication of the fuel-cell drive. Specifically styled bumpers, with an enlarged air inlet at the front, as well as aerodynamically optimised 20-inch wheels are the hallmarks of the vehicles on show at the IAA.
Fully functional and innovative: The interior.
The interior impresses with its high-grade look & feel and flowing forms as a reinterpretation of contemporary luxury. The centre console features elegant trim with flowing lines exuding unique exclusivity in a piano-lacquer look or versatile modern wood surfaces.
Precision-styled details and the choice of authentic materials by using open-pore wood as trim and a high proportion of wool and linen for the fabric covers, make for an agreeable ambience while contributing to the classy overall impression of the interior.
Timed to perfection: On the road to series production.
Daimler is systematically working to prepare for series production of the GLC F-CELL. With the current test fleet, the Mercedes-Benz engineers are taking the final key steps on the road to production start-up. Market-specific sales concepts, including a rental model, are being evaluated at present. Like the conventionally powered GLC, this family-friendly SUV of high everyday practicality will be produced in Bremen.
Infrastructure is key.
A nationwide infrastructure is essential for the success of electric mobility. The spread of both charging stations and hydrogen filling stations is proceeding apace around the world. Whether at home, at work, on the road or when shopping: there are various ways to supply electric vehicles with power. Also when it comes to H2 infrastructure, progress is constantly being made. Together with its partners in the H2 Mobility joint venture, Daimler has already drawn up a concrete action plan. The network of H2 filling stations is scheduled to reach 100 by the end of next year. By 2023, there will be a network of up to 400 hydrogen filling stations. Similar infrastructure projects are being promoted in Europe, the USA and Japan.
Systematic approach: Electric mobility with fuel cell.
It all began back in the 1980s, when Daimler researchers turned their attention to cold combustion. In 1994, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the first fuel-cell vehicle to the global public – the NECAR 1. Many further vehicles followed, including the A-Class F-CELL fleet. In 2011, special attention focused on the F-CELL World Drive, the first round-the-world journey in fuel-cell vehicles. In 2015, the F 015 Luxury in Motion concept car presented an F-CELL plug-in hybrid drive system, designed for 1,100 kilometres of zero emissions motoring. To date, fuel-cell vehicles from Mercedes-Benz, including the B-Class F-CELL and the Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid urban bus, have together covered over eighteen million kilometres, thereby demonstrating the maturity of the powertrain concept. The next technological advance is now imminent, the GLC F-CELL.