Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles are still few in series – and a infrastructure ancillary them is flattering patchy. But that’s not interlude vital manufacturers from pulling forward with a record that can fuel a automobile and evacuate usually water. And we’ve been to Stuttgart for an early float in a latest attainment on a market: a Mercedes GLC F-CELL.
This isn’t a initial fuel-cell Mercedes, yet it demonstrates a arrange of gains a German manufacturer is creation in a area. The GLC’s altogether powertrain is about 40 per cent some-more absolute than a set-up in a prior offering, a B-Class F-CELL, yet it uses 90 per cent reduction platinum. And that creates it extremely cheaper.
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Not that cost will be bothering British customers. Because for now during least, Mercedes has inaugurated to not offer a GLC F-CELL in a UK dealerships. It’s accessible in continental Europe now, though, and it has been engineered for right-hand expostulate since of a burgeoning marketplace for fuel cells in Japan.
The GLC F-CELL uses a span of hydrogen tanks next a floor, any stable by a carbonfibre bombard and pressurised to 700 bar. That means that refuelling takes about a same time as a normal petrol or diesel automobile – around 3 minutes. And packed a GLC F-CELL will give we adult to 437km of range, or 272 miles. You can also block a automobile into a wall socket, commanding adult a lithium-ion battery container that’s large adequate (9.3kWh) to concede around 30 miles of that operation yet regulating a dump of hydrogen during all. The tie is around a flap, positioned on a behind bumper.
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Image 2 of 6
The fuel dungeon ‘stack’, mounted underneath a carp on a same regulating points as a petrol or diesel engine, turns a hydrogen into electricity by blending it with oxygen, and feeds this, by a battery, to energy a 197bhp electric engine on a behind spindle that has 350Nm of torque and is able of holding a GLC F-CELL to a tip speed of 100mph. There’s no four-wheel drive, then; this is a rear-drive SUV only. And a whole package is about 100kg heavier than a normal GLC.
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The automobile has 4 modes of operation. Hybrid mixes a electricity from a lithium-ion batteries with a fuel cell, and F-CELL leaves a battery alone and use electricity usually constructed by a fuel cell. BATTERY does a opposite, while CHARGE uses a bit some-more fuel-cell activity to not usually keep a automobile relocating yet also assign adult a lithium-ion battery pack.
Confused? There’s no need to be. Because on a move, a F-CELL only feels, well, like any other pure-electric vehicle. There are a few revealing signs in a front of a cabin; there’s a switch down nearby a car’s COMAND infotainment controller that cycles by a modes. And a digital instrument row has a new demeanour and a opposite fuel sign that shows both a volume of hydrogen in a tanks and a stream turn of battery charge.
But that aside, it appears to be small some-more than a box of adhering a column-mounted rigging selector into D and removing on with it. A Mercedes operative is during a circle as we transport on a 20-mile loop from a firm’s RD centre nearby Stuttgart, and while he switches by a opposite modes, it’s honestly formidable to tell a disproportion from a newcomer seat.
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Image 3 of 6
The GLC F-CELL gets a few styling mods to make it mount out from a petrol and diesel stablemates. There are opposite amalgamate wheels and some blue detailing on a sills and behind bumper.
There’s a bigger giveaway inside, though, since a foot ability is reduced to make room for one of a hydrogen tanks and a battery container (the building is raised, as it is in Merc’s GLC 350e plug-in hybrid), The behind chair also sits somewhat about 40mm aloft than normal, slicing a few millimetres off a accessible headroom – and six-footers will notice a difference.
The finish outcome is a automobile which, like a Mirai and Clarity before it, and Hyundai’s latest NEXO, does a good pursuit of illustrating how effective a fuel-cell automobile can be. Put aside a teenager compromises on practicality and this GLC feels like a automobile we could happily use each day, as we would a conventionally powered model.
However, it is also another example, sadly, of how automobile record has changed on some-more fast than a infrastructure compulsory to support it. And while Mercedes and a few partners are creation large inroads into a devise to deliver a hydrogen fuelling network with cross-country coverage in Germany, a UK lags behind this. As prolonged as this stays a case, it’s tough to disagree with Mercedes’ preference to not offer a automobile here.