In a world of pure electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, Mercedes is taking a new route to bring more green to their vehicles. They’ve come out with a plan for a different kind of plug-in hybrid vehicle – one that uses fuel cell and EV technology in a completely new way.
Dubbed the GLC F-Cell, the SUV will have a main hydrogen fuel-cell stack in the front area which will generate electricity from hydrogen. At the back is a battery pack that can also be charged like a regular hybrid vehicle. The hydrogen required for the fuel cell will be piped from a tank near the battery pack.
The biggest achievement, however, is not the new combination of fuel-cell and EV in the same vehicle. It’s this: the car will have a range of 310 miles on a full tank/charge.
So, why is this significant? One of the biggest draws of a Tesla Motors vehicle is its +200-mile range. Until now, there’s no other pure EV that can match that kind of performance. Admittedly, Mercedes is piggy-backing on fuel cell technology to get it there, but it will still be the longest range alternative fuel vehicle that does not depend on petrol or diesel.
The biggest concern, however, comes from the mouth of Elon Musk. The founder of Tesla Motors has long advocated against the use of hydrogen as a fuel, calling it “incredibly dumb” and “extremely silly.” Hydrogen is an extremely flammable gas, and needs to be stored at a high pressure as a liquid.
Mercedes, though, is confident that the 700-bar tank technology employed in the GLC F-Cell is safe enough and competitive enough to be a viable alternative to a combustion engine. The intelligent system in the new vehicle will automatically control which power source is used depending on current conditions, promising a seamless and smooth experience for the driver.
The proliferation of alternative fuel options around the world have given rise to a number of innovations in the world of EVs and hybrids, but this is the first time that a major car manufacturer is putting its stamp of approval on a unique combination of alternative power sources.
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