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The Hydrogen- and Battery-Powered Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell Is Coming to the US in 2019

Mercedes-Benz GLC F-CELLMercedes-Benz GLC F-CELL

Next year, Mercedes-Benz will join Honda, Toyota, and perhaps others in offering a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle for sale in the United States. Called the GLC F-Cell, Benz’s offering is distinctive in that the electric motor’s power supply comes from both a fuel-cell stack and a battery pack, making it an interesting sort of plug-in hybrid with the fuel cell acting in the role more commonly associated with a range-extending gasoline engine. The production version of this technology is being shown for the first time at the Frankfurt auto show, after Mercedes detailed a prototype version of a hydrogen-powered GLC-class crossover last year.

The GLC F-Cell uses a single electric motor to power the rear wheels; its total output of 197 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque is only a bit below the least powerful gasoline-engine Mercedes-Benz GLC-class currently sold on our shores, the 241-hp GLC300. The motor draws electricity from both a 13.8-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and from a fuel cell fed by two pressurized carbon-fiber tanks that can hold up to 9.7 pounds of liquid hydrogen. Mercedes quotes European range figures of 272 miles on hydrogen power and 30 miles on battery power, although those figures will change once the EPA figures out how to rate the F-Cell by its own criteria.

Mercedes-Benz GLC F-CELL

Various driving modes allow the driver to select how the powertrain draws energy. Hybrid mode uses both the hydrogen and the battery pack, with the car determining the optimal situations for each. F-Cell mode uses the hydrogen supply to maintain a state of charge in the battery pack in case the driver wants to reserve the electric range for later. Battery mode, intended for short trips within the electric-only driving range, disables the fuel-cell system altogether and runs the car completely on battery power. And finally, Charge mode uses the hydrogen supply to recharge the battery pack once it’s depleted.

Differences compared to a conventionally powered Mercedes-Benz GLC-class are few, with the only significant packaging changes being a slightly higher rear seat and a stepped cargo floor to accommodate the hydrogen tanks. Visually, the GLC F-Cell differentiates itself with blue exterior accents, more aerodynamic bumpers and wheel designs, and F-Cell and EQ badging to designate it as part of the new EV-focused Mercedes sub-brand.

Mercedes-Benz GLC F-CELLMercedes-Benz GLC F-CELL

As with any fuel-cell vehicle, hydrogen infrastructure is a key issue for availability. We’d expect the GLC F-Cell to be sold only in California on its U.S. launch, which is currently scheduled for the end 0f 2019. Because the F-Cell is also a plug-in, it’ll be able to recharge its battery pack using existing EV infrastructure, with Mercedes-Benz claiming a charging time of 1.5 hours if you use the highest voltage available.

We don’t yet know specific information about how much the F-Cell will cost or even how Mercedes-Benz plans to sell it on our shores. Honda’s Clarity Fuel Cell is only available for lease, as has been the case for the Hyundai Tucson fuel-cell vehicle (due to be supplanted soon by a newer model), while Toyota’s Mirai can be purchased outright in addition to leasing. Mercedes said it’s exploring rental models for certain markets, so some car-sharing possibilities may come into play. Prepare to learn more about Mercedes-Benz’s first foray into the hydrogen market over the coming months.

MB-GLC-fuel-cell-REELMB-GLC-fuel-cell-REEL

Article source: http://blog.caranddriver.com/the-hydrogen-and-battery-powered-mercedes-benz-glc-f-cell-is-coming-to-the-u-s-in-2019/

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