Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL World Drive circled the globe

  • Three B-Class F-CELL drive more than 30 000 km around the world
  • Impressive proof of everyday usability of fuel-cell technology
  • Reliable operation even under tough conditions
  • Initial impetus for establishing hydrogen infrastructure

The “Mercedes-Benz F-CELL World Drive” – the first round-the-world drive with fuel-cell vehicles – successfully concluded the 30 000 km journey with zero emissions.

Mercedes-Benz E-Cell

The tour commenced at the end of January, on the official 125th birthday of the automobile, from the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, and traversed 14 countries on four countries, arriving on schedule back at the Museum on 01 June 2011.

“With the F-CELL World Drive, our colleagues in Germany have demonstrated the benefits and the advantages of this technology:  high range, short refuelling times and zero emissions,” said Eckart Mayer, Vice President, Mercedes-Benz South Africa.

“Within the scope of the F-CELL World Drive, the Mercedes-Benz F-CELL is functioning as an ambassador for a new, zero-emissions auto-mobility of the future.  Southern Africa hosts a number of test teams for future Mercedes-Benz models, and it is therefore fitting that we expose our motoring public to these exciting developments,” adds Mayer.

“We are pleased to showcase pioneering products that have long been in development stages in Germany, and is now proven technology that is suitable for day-to-day driving,” concluded Mayer.

Hydrogen infrastructure challenge
A crucial factor for the market success of this technology is hydrogen fuelling stations.  Currently there are only 200 fuel stations worldwide at which fuel cell vehicles can be refuelled.  According to expert calculations, a network of 1 000  fixed fuel stations would be sufficient for basic nationwide coverage in Germany.  A central aim of Mercedes-Benz is to see that in future, drivers all over the world will be able to refuel with hydrogen – just as they do today with petrol and diesel fuel.

The exclusive partner for hydrogen supply on the F-CELL World Drive was the Linde Group.  Thanks to its hydrogen expertise and global presence, it was able to guarantee fuel supply throughout the entire world trip.  A jointly developed mobile refuelling unit based on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter accompanied the tour – the only way to ensure fuel supply even on the most remote stretches.

Proof of the everyday usability of fuel-cell drive
During the F-CELL World Drive, Mercedes-Benz was able to provide an impressive demonstration of the qualities of its B-Class fuel cell vehicles in terms of performance and robustness.  The World Drive vehicles drove not only in downtown areas, on country roads and lengthy stretches of highway, but also proved their capabilities driving on unfinished surfaces, for example, on stages in Australia and China.

With new drive systems the motto is:  alternative drives need alternative infrastructures.  In the case of the B-Class F-CELL, as the inventor of the automobile, together with partners from commerce and politics, Daimler is lobbying heavily for the establishment of a comprehensive infrastructure – both for electric cars with fuel cess and for those with battery-electric drive.