As part of the official 125 years celebrations in South Africa and its “Mercedes-Benz F-CELL World Drive” (the first round-the-world drive with fuel-cell vehicles), Mercedes-Benz South Africa has brought one of the three hydrogen powered B-Class F-CELL vehicles to JIMS.
“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.
The Mercedes B-Class F-CELL is an environmentally friendly electric car that boasts performance similar to a 2.0-litre petrol engined car. Powered by a 100 kW and 290 Nm electric motor, the zero-emission drive system consumes the equivalent of 3.3 L/100km, giving the B-Class F-CELL a range of 400 km.
What makes the B-class F-Cell different to a normal EV is its polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell. Yes, it’s a mouthful. The simple explanation is that the fuel cell converts high-pressure hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2, gathered from the air) into electrical energy and water (H2O). It is some fancy chemistry, but it boils down to reverse electrolysis – just think back to your junior-school science classes.
A crucial factor for the market success of Mercedes’ F-CELL technology is hydrogen fuelling stations. Currently there are only 200 fuel stations worldwide. 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.