Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell Boasts Plug-in EV Power

By Bob Nagy on June 20, 2016 8:00 AM

Unveiled in Germany, the Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell is a fuel cell vehicle with a twist. Shown as a prototype and based on M-B’s new GLC crossover, it will be the first hydrogen-powered production model to team a fuel cell with a supplemental battery pack that can extend its range and allow a bit more flexibility when the nearest hydrogen refueling station isn’t quite as close as the nearest electrical outlet.

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Due to arrive in European showrooms sometime in 2017 and subsequently headed for America, the Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell draws primary motive force for its electric drive motor from a new fuel cell stack that’s 30 percent more compact than the current design and now fits neatly underhood. In addition to greater operating efficiency, the new stack uses 90 percent less platinum than the previous unit. The GLC F-Cell’s two high-pressure (10,150 psi) fuel tanks carry roughly nine pounds of hydrogen, which is enough for about 280 miles on the comparatively generous European NEDC cycle.

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Complementing the fuel cell setup is a 9kWh lithium-ion battery pack that holds sufficient electricity for another 31 Euro miles. Like all good hybrid systems, the one in the new F-Cell also includes on-the-fly charge-regeneration capability when the car is coasting or braking. At this point there’s no word on what the Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell will cost. While our U.S. sources will only confirm its ETA here as “before the end of the decade,” rumors persist that it could well launch in California by 2018.

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