Mercedes Will Release First Mass-Market Fuel Cell in 2014

Mercedes-Benz has announced that it will push the release of its first mass-market fuel cell vehicle up by one year, to 2014. At a media roundtable in New York, Daimler Chairman Dieter Zetsche told reporters this week that his company was so impressed by its recent experience touring three pre-production vehicles around the world as part of the 30,000-km F-Cell World Drive Tour, that it was convinced the time is right to move forward with fuel cells.

“The product is ready for the market technically,” said Zetsche, as reported by Inside Line. “We have proven that by sending three vehicles with a fuel cell around the globe without any relevant problems. The issue is infrastructure. We made this trip to prove technology is ready and we need partners to take care of infrastructure.”

Currently, there are roughly 200 hydrogen fueling stations worldwide. In order to provide basic nationwide coverage in Mercedes-Benz’s home country of Germany, Zetsche has said that at least 1000 such stations would have to come online.

The first fuel cell vehicle likely for release is the Mercedes B-Class F-Cell—which was exhibited in the World Drive tour. The car is based on the Mercedes B-Class platform, a small family vehicle class first introduced in 2005 and headed to the United States for 2012.

The fuel cell variant of the B-Class features a front-wheel mounted electric motor capable of outputting 136 horsepower. The vehicle’s approximate range of 250 miles easily bests any of the currently announced mass-market plug-in electric vehicles, but as Daimler readily admits, price is still a major obstacle for fuel cells.

“The target is to be cost-wise by the middle of the decade at the level of the diesel hybrid, which is not cheap, but marketable today,” said Zetsche at the roundtable. “It’s a challenging target, but a realistic target.”

By year’s end, 70 B-Class F-Cells are scheduled to hit Los Angeles roads as part of a $850-per-month, 36-month test lease program.

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  • Anonymous

    Good move. Apply it in the smallest 4/5 seater vehicle which will affordable. By 2014, oil prices will be above $150/barrel and technology to extract hydrogen from Solar Thermal will readily be there. Also there will be fuel cells that could run on Methane by that time and Hythane supply will also become common.

  • Used boats

    Mercedes-Benz has announced that it will push the release of its first mass-market fuel cell vehicle up by one year, to 2014. This is good news for automotive industry. Thanks for sharing information.

  • MrEnergyCzar

    I’m surprised car companies are still thinking hydrogen. It takes more energy to make the hydrogen than you get out in fuel. Even if you used renewable electricity to make the hydrogen, you’d still be better off putting that electricity directly into a battery…..


  • Anonymous


    With a combination of heat and electricity, Hydrogen may be produced with output being more than input.

    Also current fuel cells can run on natgas which is widely available.
    And above all, its has much higher energy to weight ratio compared to battery.

    If the Nissan Leaf with 100 mile range has battery weighing 600 lbs, then for 300 mile range, it will have battery weighing 1,800 lbs and this will reduce the vehicles range. This is where Hydrogen steps in.

    So in the future, there will be Fuel Cell Plugins which will go 40-50 miles with battery and switch to Hydrogen beyond that.

  • Mr.Bear

    Interesting. A 250 mile range is good. Personally i think it needs to be extended to see it extended to 350 miles to be a practical replacement to a conventional gas or hybrid car.

    The infrastructure shouldn’t be too expensive to install. A generator to pull oxygen out of the air and compress it for cylinders is relatively small and cheap. I would imagine installing one in your house for a hydrogen fuel cell car wouldn’t be more expensive than doing the same for a plugin electric or a natural gas car.

    What bugs M’s about this is everyone seems to forget the exhaust from a hydrorgan fuel cell (water vapor) is a greenhouse gas. If it wasn’t, humidity wouldn’t affect temperature. And just imagine what would happen to the humidity if every car on the road was putting out water vapor as exhaust.

  • BillW

    “The fuel cell variant of the B-Class features a front-wheel mounted electric motor capable of outputting 136 horsepower—similar to a 2-cylinder gas engine.”

    More like a small 4-cylinder gas engine. For example, the 1.6 liter 4-cylinder in a Ford Fiesta produces 120 horsepower, while the 2.0 liter 4-cylinder in the Focus produces 160 horsepower.

    Mr. Bear, why do you feel you need a 350-mile range? Do you ever drive 350 miles without stopping? Assuming the availability of hydrogen infrastructure, filling up takes no longer than filling up with gas. Now, early adopters who take long trips prior to the widespread availability of hydrogen fueling stations might have some concern. They should wait to buy a hydrogen car.

    The above, of course, assumes hydrogen fuel-cell cars are actually viable. I have my doubts. Hydrogen is an energy carrier, not a fuel source, and making it and using it is less efficient than making electricity and charging batteries. The cleanest thing from which we can make hydrogen is water, which itself is likely to be in short supply in the near future. A huge amount of new infrastructure is required for filling (though this can also be an issue for battery electric cars, at least for long distance travel).

  • Anonymous

    Mercedes first promise of releasing mass market hydrogen fool cell cars failed badly back in 2004. The second attempt is going to fail as well (except laws of physics suddenly change).
    – There is no public hydrogen distribution infrastructure (and never will be).
    – There is no gaseous hydrogen on Earth, splitting water or reforming natural gas are either power hungry or inefficient (extremely wasteful) processes and much more expensive than using electricity/natural gas directly.
    – Hydrogen cannot be transported/stored in large quantities (must be compressed/liquified, requires special/expensive storage materials, dealing with hydrogen requires extreme caution).
    – Hydrogen fool cells are still insanely expensive (despite more than 45 years of research and development).
    – Well to wheel efficiency of a fool cell car is always much worse than a battery electric one.

    Using fool cells for passenger cars is the dumbest idea ever.

    “Hydrogen is the fuel of the future, and always will be.” 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Mr.Bear: “The infrastructure shouldn’t be too expensive to install. A generator to pull oxygen out of the air and compress it for cylinders is relatively small and cheap.”
    What are you talking about? Hydrogen fool cells don’t need compressed oxygen.
    One gas station costs about 1 million dollar but a hydrogen station is more than 10 times expensive to build (and could serve fraction number of cars per day than a gas station). The infrastructure would be insanely expensive, a couple trillion(!) dollars just in the US according to some studies. But this doesn’t matter because there is no solution to store/transport hydrogen in large quantities.

    “What bugs M’s about this is everyone seems to forget the exhaust from a hydrorgan fuel cell (water vapor) is a greenhouse gas.”

    This is not a problem.
    – Gas cars also emit large amount of water vapor.
    – Fool cells will never make it to the mainstream of the transportation sector because of the laws of physics 🙂

  • jim1961

    I used to think hydrogen would be a practical low carbon fuel too. Please read the following article

  • anon

    if only we had that battery

  • Mr.Bear

    Who needs to transport hydrogen? It’s 0.55ppmv in the atmosphere. If you split water to get It, it is as much as 4% of the atmosphere. All you need is a compressor and/or a generator. For commercial applications, it will have to be big, but I doubt significantly bigger than a natural gas compressor and tank at a gas station.

    Once a month I’ll drive 320 miles roundtrip with only one stop and the one stop is in BFE. If I’m driving cross country, I’ll do 300 miles easy without stopping. It’s not even 4 hours when driving 80 mph.

  • 9691

    “The product is ready for the market technically,” said Zetsche. Well it’s been ready for years, and M has been on it for a while now, but they (and Honda) kept the technology to maintain the status quo. At this time it’s late to the game and I doubt it will make it without preexisting infrastructure.

  • Anonymous

    Mr.Bear: You can’t be serious about extracting hydrogen from the atmosphere. This will never work because it would require vastly more energy than the energy content of the collected hydrogen itself.

  • Jose

    I like Fuel cells better than toxic batteries!

  • Mannstein

    When the battery manufacturers come up with a battery that recharges in minutes has long life and provides a range over 200 miles winter or summer call me, I’ll by the product, in the meantime fuel cell cars are the way of the future.

  • ThinkSmart

    you’re aware that the area in Canada that they mine the material for the batteries for cars is used as a moon landing simulation because of how dead and barren the area is BECAUSE of the mining… Batteries are not any better for the environment and cost as much as a new car to replace when they die

  • Used Cars Louisville Guy 99

    I totally agree that hydrogen is the fuel of the future. It’s clean and renewable. It will also create a whole new field of jobs that will put people to work. We need to begin to build our infrastructure to prepare for this eventuality.

  • Used Cars Louisville Guy 99

    I was also wondering if they are planning to start building this infrastructure? As with all new technologies, the initial cost will be high and as more and more people use it that cost will go down. Pleas visit me at

  • William Macnae

    A solar panel on the bonnet might well satisfy the needs of the small time user and a larger solar panel at home with a compressor after the water has been through electrolysis will mean that the Fuel cell car will cost as much as a fridge to run.

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