Mercedes B-Class fuel cell vehicle
Mercedes B-Class fuel cell vehicle. Click image to enlarge

Stuttgart, Germany – A Mercedes-Benz B-Class equipped with fuel-cell drive has passed its winter testing in northern Sweden, both in its cold-weather performance and in its road-holding ability.

The zero-emission drive proved itself in the comprehensive test program even at double-digit, below-zero temperatures. Although Daimler Research had already found a technical solution to the fuel cell’s start capability at minus 25C, the engineers’ focus was on the interaction between the different components under real-life winter conditions.

The tests also focused on road-holding, which meant adapting the electronic stability program (ESP) to the special requirements of a fuel-cell vehicle, as an electric motor exhibits different speed governing behaviour to that of standard internal combustion engines.

“The results of the winter tests proved that we are on the right track with this innovative drive concept and have taken another important step on the road to reaching production standard,” said Dr. Thomas Weber, Daimler AG board member with responsibility for Research and Development. “As with the standard test programs for conventional vehicles, we will be subjecting the B-Class F-Cell to further rigorous testing over the next few months.”

Small-series production of the B-Class F-Cell will commence in early 2010, with a new generation of fuel-cell drive for its power. The system is based on a fuel-cell system presented by Mercedes-Benz in 2005 in the F600 HYGENIUS research vehicle. The newly-designed fuel cell module is roughly 40 per cent smaller, yet generates 30 per cent greater power, along with a 16 per cent reduction in consumption when compared to the previous F-Cell A-Class. The B-Class F-Cell uses the equivalent of 2.9 L/100 km of diesel with zero emissions.

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