Just ahead of the 125th birthday of the automobile on January 29, its inventor is setting further groundbreaking accents in the field of electromobility. At the North American International Auto Show, Mercedes-Benz today announced its decision to put the SLS AMG E-CELL into series production.

The battery-electric drive super sports car generates 392 kW (525 hp) and 880 Nm (649 lb-ft) of torque. The second piece of “electrifying” news – January 29 will see the official starting signal of the “Mercedes-Benz World Drive”, the first journey around the world with fuel cell electric drive. Under the motto “125! Years of Innovation”, Mercedes-Benz is showing in Detroit a complete spectrum of highly efficient and clean drives for the automobiles of today and tomorrow.

“The Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-CELL is the most technically advanced super sports car in the 125-year history of the automobile, and shows just how fascinating electromobility can be. Our customers will be able to order it from their Mercedes-Benz dealers from 2013 onwards”, said Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, at the Mercedes press conference.

Zetsche delivered his words on the redesigned Mercedes show stand, which offers a three-dimensional experience of the Stuttgart automaker’s multi-faceted driveline strategy on an area of almost 1,800 square metres. “Our stand architecture vividly shows how single-mindedly we are moving forward,” continued Zetsche. “We are driving on a multi-lane highway into the future – one that we have populated with all relevant driveline technologies. The spectrum ranges from high-tech internal combustion engines, like our new gasoline direct injection units and our BlueTEC diesels, through a variety of types of hybrids to powerful battery and fuel cell electric drives with full everyday usability.”

Mercedes-Benz F-CELL World Drive – around the world with hydrogen
At the end of 2009, Mercedes-Benz put its first electric vehicle with fuel cell drive made under series production conditions on the road with the B-Class F-CELL. As part of a spectacular road trip, the brand with the star now wants to provide impressive proof of the enormous potential offered by fuel cell technology – on the occasion of the official birthday of the automobile on January 29, three fuel cell vehicles from the current series production run will set off from Stuttgart on the “Mercedes-Benz World Drive” – 125 days long, across four continents and through 14 countries. Each of the three vehicles will cover around 30,000 kilometres (18,750 miles).

“Electric cars with fuel cells have what it takes to revolutionise our mobility once more,” said Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. “The hydrogen-driven B-Class F-CELL combines several key benefits. Its drive is efficient, clean and fully suitable for everyday use. Plus, it delivers local zero-emissions driving with a long range of around 400 kilometres (240 miles), short refueling times of only three minutes and no shortage of driving pleasure.” This is provided courtesy of the 100 kW (136 hp) electric motor that generates a refined 290 Nm (214 lb-ft) of torque. The B-Class F-CELL achieves an NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) consumption figure equating to just 3.3 litres of fuel (diesel equivalent) per 100 kilometres. Its EPA fuel economy stands at 54 mpg.

Commitment to the establishment of a hydrogen fuel station network
Mercedes-Benz has now developed fuel cell technology for automotive drive to series production maturity. However, while the vehicle technology of the B-Class F-CELL is fully mature, the fuel station infrastructure represents limitations. Dr. Weber: “With our ‘F-CELL World Drive’, we want not only to demonstrate the capability and everyday usability of fuel cell drive, but also to lobby for the establishment of a hydrogen fuel cell network. This will make the B-Class F-CELL a global ambassador for a new, local zero-emissions auto-mobility of the future.”

In order to ensure fuel supply to the participating vehicles on all stages of the tour, a hydrogen fuel tanker will be used at all the start and finish points along the route. Dr. Weber: “Our ‘World Drive’ will also serve to motivate governments and energy suppliers to build a suitable refueling infrastructure. Our objective is clear – in future, drivers should be able to fill up with hydrogen anywhere in the world, in the same way that they can today with gasoline and diesel.”

Source: Daimler AG / MB Passion