Mercedes-Benz is presenting the next EQ Power model at the 2017 IAA: the GLC F-Cell, which is still a pre-series, but will also be available for money in the future. A combination of fuel cell and battery drives inside the GLC. This means that a lithium-ion battery is still on board as a “backup”, which alone can cover a range of 49 kilometers. Most of the tasks come from the 4.4 kilogram hydrogen tank for 437 kilometers of locally emission-free driving.
“The long electric range, short refueling times and the suitability for everyday use of an SUV will make it the perfect companion. This is only possible thanks to the compact design of our fuel cell system. Another real world premiere is the combination with a large additional lithium-ion battery that can be conveniently charged using plug-in technology. ”- Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG
The technology of the GLC F-Cell is more compact and conserves resources
The novelty of the GLC F-Cell is the combination of a hydrogen drive with a lithium-ion battery, which can also be charged externally. Daimler AG is still silent on the exact readiness for series production, but it can be assumed that it will be so far next year. The drive puts 350 Newton meters and 147 kilowatts (or 200 hp) on the road, which is more than enough for a GLC. Especially since the drive is around 40% more powerful than the B-Class F-Cell that has been in operation since 2010. The fuel cell system itself is 30 percent more compact and can be fully accommodated in the engine compartment. The use of platinum in the fuel cell has also been reduced by 90 percent.
The 13.8 kWh battery, which serves as an additional energy source, can be fully charged in around 1.5 hours using the 7.2 kW on-board charger. The hydrogen tanks are located in the vehicle floor and are sheathed with carbon fibers. They hold 4.4 kilograms of hydrogen and can be filled in three minutes thanks to the 700 bar standardized refueling process.
GLC F-Cell will have four operating modes
In addition to the well-known driving modes such as Eco, Comfort or Sport, the GLC F-Cell will include four operating modes. In hybrid mode, the drive uses both energy sources. Power peaks are covered by the battery, the fuel cell is operated at optimum efficiency. The F-Cell mode keeps the charge level of the high-voltage battery constant. In other words, the hydrogen tank alone is emptied. Conversely, in the Battery mode, only the battery is used as an energy source and the fuel cell has a break. In the last mode, Charge, the high-voltage battery in the rear is charged via the fuel cell.
High-quality equipment for the next EQ Power model
The only features inside are, as with the GLC plug-in hybrid, on the edge in the trunk. The rear seat also had to be positioned a little higher due to the positioning of the tanks. This will be seen and felt later in the series. Later heated front seats and automatic air conditioning will be standard on board. The GLC F-Cell is supported by a coil spring on the front axle, while a single-chamber air suspension is used on the rear axle, primarily for level control.
GLC F-Cell pre-series gives a preview of the upcoming model upgrade
Visually, the model differs through the labeling on the side or the slightly modified front with new decorative parts and blue elements in the newly drawn grill. In addition, the GLC F-Cell rides on aerodynamically refined 20 inch wheels. A clear upgrade can be seen inside. Not only with the 12.3 inch display (digital cockpit) or the larger 10.25 inch central display, but also with the new multifunctional touchpad. This can be controlled via one or more finger gestures, as well as multi-touch.
The engineers are currently still on a test drive with the pre-production models of the GLC F-Cell. Germany currently has almost 35 hydrogen filling stations, most of them in North Rhine-Westphalia, the Frankfurt and Stuttgart area. By the end of 2018 there should be exactly 100 stations and over 400 stations by 2023. Apart from the eastern regions of Germany, one tank load would currently not be able to drive across Germany, but at least longitudinally.