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Mercedes-Benz GLC SUV Will Get a Fuel Cell Version over the Next Two Years

Mercedes-Benz has been toying around with the idea of a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle for quite some time, but a mass-produced model never really made it through.
Mercedes-Benz GLC 1 photo
The basis of the Mercedes-Benz fuel-cell program has so far been the B-Class minivan, a model probably chosen for its optimal balance between the amount of space offered and the reduced overall weight.

Recent rumors suggest the first Mercedes-Benz fuel-cell vehicle to make it into mass-production will be based on the recently released GLC premium compact SUV. This switch is down to the fact that the expensive technology involved in developing the fuel-cell powertrain isn’t financially viable for a vehicle from a lower segment.

Toyota and Honda would partly disagree with that statement, both Japanese companies having their own compact cars that are using this method of propulsion: the Toyota Mirai and the Honda FCV Clarity.

According to Thomas Weber, head of research and development for Mercedes-Benz, and thus, the man who knows best which way the company is headed, talking to Autocar, the fuel cell stack will occupy the space now taken up by the internal combustion engine. That said, it will be a new design compared to what the previous B-Class prototypes were using.

Mr. Weber says the planned maximum range for the GLC F-Cell (that’s the name it’ll likely get) is of 373 miles (that’s 600 km), which isn’t all that impressive considering how Tesla is nearing that same figure with battery power alone. But even so, hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles will continue to have a very big advantage over conventional EVs, and that is the refueling time.

Thomas Weber says the GLC F-Cell will only need three minutes for a complete refill of its hydrogen tank, while the recharge of a battery pack takes at least ten times as much. Factor in the superior range and lower weight, and until some higher capacity batteries are invented, the fuel-cell vehicle does stand a chance. As long as there’s an infrastructure to support it, of course.


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