After four months and 30,000 kilometers of travel that included trekking across 14 countries and four continents, a trio of hydrogen-powered Mercedes-Benz F-CELL vehicles has finally arrived back in Stuttgart, Germany. The record-setting F-CELL World Drive, which began at the end of January on the 125th birthday of the automobile, appropriately ended in front of the Mercedes-Benz Museum in the automaker's home town.
This ambitious global marathon run encompassed 70 days of actual driving and was designed to show the potential for hydrogen as a viable emissions-free fuel of the future -- as well as to further promote M-B's ultimate goal of encouraging stronger international support for the development of a viable infrastructure of hydrogen refueling stations. To ensure that its pioneering F-CELL contingent managed to keep going along quite a few "roads less traveled" that ranged from the wilds of Kazakhstan to the sparsely-populated coast of Western Australia, the automaker partnered with Linde AG. The German-based leader in the field of industrial gases and related engineering provided a special mobile refueling unit that was called upon some 130 times to replenish the car's hydrogen tanks in the near-universal absence of dedicated permanent refueling stations.
"With the F-CELL World Drive we have shown, that the time for electric vehicles with fuel cell has come. Now the development of the infrastructure has to pick up speed," noted Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars at the conclusion of the World Drive. "For only an adequate number of hydrogen fueling stations enables car drivers to benefit from the advantages of this technology: high range, short refueling times, zero emissions.