Mercedes GLC F-Cell Combines Plug-In Power with Fuel Cell Tech

James Marshall
September 12, 2017

Mercedes-Benz on Tuesday unveiled a hydrogen fuel cell-powered version of its popular GLC at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.

As well as using hydrogen fuel, the GLC F-CELL can be charged from a wall socket. It's the follow-up to the 2010 B-Class F-Cell.

The GLC F-Cell should be ahead of the curve, falling under Daimler's EQ electric-car brand with about 10 pounds of hydrogen stored in two tanks, delivering 272 miles of zero-emission range.

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 now sold on our shores, the 241-hp GLC300. And finally, Charge mode uses the hydrogen supply to recharge the battery pack once it's depleted. We'd expect the GLC F-Cell to be sold only in California on its USA launch, which is now scheduled for the end 0f 2019.

F-Cell drivers will also benefit from a range of up to 49 km or 31 miles in the NEDC thanks to the large lithium-ion battery. The fuel-cell system is around 30% more compact than before and can for the first time be housed entirely in the engine compartment, and the use of platinum in the fuel cell has been reduced by 90%.

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.

"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 ideal vehicle", Daimler's board member for research and development, Ola Kallenius, said.

With another 10 pure BEVs planned to launch before 2022, Daimler hopes that defining the GLC F-Cell as a plug-in hybrid will convince people it's a family-friendly practical auto. Hybrid allows the auto to draw energy from both the fuel cell and the lithium-ion battery, while F-CELL maintains the battery charge by using only the fuel cell. Its hydrogen tanks use the standard 700-bar pressure and are encased in carbon-fiber. Built into the GLC's floor, they can be fully refueled in only three minutes - about the same time as a conventional gasoline - or diesel-powered vehicle. Battery mode, intended for short trips within the electric-only driving range, disables the fuel-cell system altogether and runs the auto completely on battery power.

The rated output of the car's fuel cell is 147kW, with 350Nm of torque available.

Details to the output of the fuel cell stack remains under wraps a week before the GLC F-Cell's planned public debut, though Mercedes-Benz confirms it will be combined with a 9kWh lithium-ion battery to provide an overall range of up to 500km, some 50km of which is claimed to be achievable on the electricity from its battery alone.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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