Mercedes looks to enter the Hydrogen SUV market the GLC F-CELL

Man-made climate change is a hot topic and, regardless of your beliefs about the effect of man-made emissions on the global climate, it’s inevitable that the internal combustion engine will eventually be all but wiped out of existence. With various world governments committing to an all-out ban of non-electric vehicles, automakers aren’t slowing down the process either, with just about every major manufacturer having jumped on the alternative fuels wagon in one way or another in recent years. Mercedes, for example, is following Toyota’s lead and looking to hydrogen as a viable solution to combat emissions and has already proven its viability with cars like the B-Class F-CELL and the Citaro FuelCELL-Hybrid – two vehicles that have logged more than seven million miles in test runs. Now, Mercedes has introduced the GLC F-Cell, the world’s first plug-in fuel-cell vehicle. As such, the GLC F-Cell promises as much as 301 miles from just 9.7 pounds of hydrogen and the 13.8-kWh battery. And, it does so while producing around 200 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque– more than enough to get you up to speed.

With hydrogen availability expanding, that’s certainly good news, but we’re not there quite yet. Outside of the electric and hydrogen powertrain, the GLC F-Cell also sports its own unique look in comparison to the ICE-powered GLC-Class, so it will even stand out in the crowd. Now, it may not have that internal combustion engine or even the 241 horsepower afforded by the standard model’s 2.0-liter, but it will still please all of you purists out there as it does have all of the Mercedes DNA that you’ve come to love and find it impossible to live without. So, now that the GLC F-Cell has made its official debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show, let’s take a good look at it and see what it’s all about.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell.


2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell High Resolution Exterior
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When I first heard about the GLC F-Cell, I thought to myself, “great, another Mercedes car that’s going to look identical to the model it is based on.” But, I couldn’t have been more wrong and, in fact, Mercedes even surprised us a bit.

Tthe F-Cell features its own unique headlights with a different LED strip up top and a different bulb layout as well

Now, the GLC F-Cell still uses the same general body structure of the standard GLC – this much was expected, for sure – but it gets its own unique features too. Up front, you’ll find that the F-Cell features its own unique headlights with a different LED strip up top and a different bulb layout as well. In between the lights, you’ll find a familiar grill, but instead of the dual-louver insert found on the standard model, you get a one-piece unit that’s accented with blue and features an even larger Mercedes emblem. Down below, the front fascia takes on its own look, with corner vents that remind of something AMG would put out. In reality, the fascia itself has a rather large mouth, replacing the smaller air dam and small vents of the standard model. An insert, one that makes up the shape of the corners and the center louver, is in place to provide that unique look.

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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As far as the side profile goes, there isn’t much that sets the F-Cell apart from the standard GLC. Naturally, you have the same side profile with the two dominating lines below the waist and the chrome window trim. Even the side view mirrors are the same. It does stand out by means of the blue pin striping and F-CELL lettering below the lowest body line, and a thick blue accent at the top of the side skirt. In some images, it looks as if the side skirts are actually a little taller than on the standard model, but I think that’s just our eyes playing tricks on us. Finally, the F-Cell gets its own unique wheels. They are 10-spoke units with the top layer finished in chrome and the bottom layer of spokes finished in the same blue used for the various exterior accents. It’s not a lot, but it adds just enough flare to make it unique.

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You really have to commend Mercedes for going above and beyond to help the F-Cell stand out from the rest of the lineup

Around back, the only defining feature of the F-Cell comes into play down below. Otherwise, it gets the same tail light units, rear hatch, and rear overhang. Down below, however, you’ll find that the fascia is a bit different. The insert at the bottom of the fascia is now taller and provides housing for the corner reflectors. A body-colored insert sits in the middle of the lower fascia and mimics the look of the insert that runs across the front fascia, without the vent holes, of course. There are, obviously, no exhaust pipes to speak of, so the cladding has been stamped with a few square protrusions to add a little more character. With all of this in mind, you really have to commend Mercedes for going above and beyond to help the F-Cell stand out from the rest of the lineup. Not bad, but what about the inside? Let’s get to it.

Exterior Dimension

Wheelbase (Inches) 113.11
Length (Inches) 183.89
Width (Inches) 82.51
Height (Inches) 65.07
Track width front/rear (Inches) 63.97/63.81


2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell High Resolution Interior
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They say that beauty is only skin deep and, in most cases, that’s true. But the GLC looks good inside and out, and since that DNA was used to create the newest F-Cell, it’s no surprise that the cabin is also quite beautiful. There isn’t a whole lot to set it apart from the standard model, but there are a few things. Higher trim levels of the standard GLC get a flat-bottom steering wheel, but the F-Cell gets a standard, three-spoke, round steering wheel. It has a revised button layout compared to the standard model as well. Ahead of the steering wheel sits a digital instrument cluster that features two digital gauges and a central display. This unit measures 12.3 inches while the central COMAND display that hovers in front of the center stack is a 10.25-inch unit, much wider and shorter than that of the standard model. Finally, the center console features a slightly different look, thanks to the removal of the gear selector. This has paved the way for a larger and thinner touch controller for the infotainment system. It’s a little different to look at but is oddly refreshing and clean at the same time. In addition to the thumb controls on the steering wheel and the touch controller, there’s also voice control as well.

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell High Resolution Interior
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2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell High Resolution Interior
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But the GLC looks good inside and out, and since that DNA was used to create the newest F-Cell, it’s no surprise that the cabin is also quite beautiful

As far as interior dimensions go, Mercedes has yet to say anything, but I wouldn’t assume they are necessarily the same as the standard GLC. See, with there being a battery pack in the floor and two electric motors, it’s possible that both cargo room and passenger room has decreased a bit. Hopefully not by much, but it’s a fair tradeoff when you consider the benefits of having the hydrogen-electric hybrid setup. With that in mind, if there isn’t any decreased room, you should get 56.5 cubic-feet of cargo room with the rear seats folded flat or 20.5 with the seats in the upright position. Hopefully, that 2.2 inches of extra rear seat space will make its way into the F-Cell as well. We’ll just have to wait until full dimensions are released to know for sure.


2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell High Resolution Drivetrain
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And this is where things get really interesting. Mercedes has ditched that 2.0-liter four-cylinder for a pair of electric motors, a battery, and a set of hydrogen tanks. First, let’s start with the hydrogen tanks. There are two tanks, both of which are encased in carbon fiber and run the standardized 700-bar pressure system (10,152.6 psi). One tank resides just behind the hydrogen system where the driveshaft and transmission would usually be, and the other, larger tank is stashed away under the rear bench seat. Sitting above the rear axle is a 13.8-kW battery that powers the electric drive components on short trips or supplements the hydrogen power supply system when you really need that extra get-up-and-go.

The two electric motors are good for 147 kW or about 200 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque

As a special note, I should point out that this is the first time that a hydrogen vehicle can also be plugged in to charge its onboard battery, hence the charging port in place of a fuel door and the hydrogen port in the rear fascia. The 13.8-kW battery is charged with the onboard 7.2-kW charger, which can take it from nil to 100 percent in about an hour and a half – giving you an all-electric range of 49 km or about 30 miles on a good day. It’s not much, but hey, you’re running on water the rest of the time, so don’t complain. All told, the two electric motors are good for 147 kW or about 200 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It’s not too bad, but it falls short of the standard model, which comes with 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet on tap.

On the plus side, the F-Cell represents the next step toward a hydrogen-powered future. Filling the tanks from empty takes about three minutes, so it’s comparable to filling up with that dino juice, while the energy recuperation system will help keep a charge on that battery in certain driving scenarios, so you don’t necessarily have to plug it in all of the time. And, it does so while producing zero emissions, so I would say the tradeoff in power and torque is well worth it. With that in mind, there are also several driving modes to choose from, including ECO, COMFORT, and SPORT, all of which change the driving dynamics of the vehicle and how efficient the drivetrain actually is.

Drivetrain Specifications

CO2 emissions: 0 g/km
H2 range in Hybrid mode (NEDC): 437* km
Battery-electric range in Battery mode (NEDC) 49 km
Drive system: Electric motor
Battery: Lithium-ion
Fuel cell: PEM (polymer electrolyte fuel cell)
Rated output: 147 kW (200 hp)
Max. torque: 350 Nm (258 LB-FT)
Top speed: 160 km/h (electronically limited)
H2 tank capacity: 4.4 kg (usable for SAE J2601, 2014 or new)
Battery capacity (gross/net): 13.8 kWh /9.3 kWh

Pre-Debut Update: The Fuel Cell and Safety

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell High Resolution
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Obviously, you already know that the new F-Cell will combine plug-in technology with hydrogen technology, but outside of that, we still haven’t learned much. Based on the images we had previously, it seemed as if there would be one hydrogen tank in the rear, just ahead of the rear wheels. Well, in Mercedes’ most recent release, it claims there will be multiple tanks that are situated between the axles inside the crash-protected area that also keeps you safe. Whether or not these are big round tanks, flat thin tanks or a combination remains to be seen, but we’ll learn that soon enough. The tanks will get their own subframe assembly for added strength and durability in the event of an accident and, to put things over the top, the tanks get their own multi-stage valve systems to help ensure there are no leaks should a fuel line be damaged. There are also new protective circuits to effectively kill power from the battery packs should things get hairy on the road.

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According to Mercedes tests of the pre-production GLC F-Cell has proven it offers up safety similar to that of your typical gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicle

For now, that’s all we know. According to Mercedes tests of the pre-production GLC F-Cell has proven it offers up safety similar to that of your typical gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicle, so it should meet at statutory safety requirements set forth by the Europe and the U.S. Now, if we could just get that hydrogen infrastructure in place, with hydrogen being as readily available as gasoline and diesel, and we’ll be good to transition into a hydrogen-powered automotive world. For now, however, stay tuned for updates as we’ll be sure to update this review once the GLC F-Cell makes its debut in Frankfurt.


2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell High Resolution Exterior
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2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell High Resolution Exterior
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Here in the U.S., the GLC is only available as the GLC 300 and GLC300 4MATIC, which are priced at $38,950 and $40,950, respectively. I wouldn’t expect the GLC F-CELL to come that cheap, though. At this time, pricing is a complete mystery, but I’m betting that jumping on Mercedes hydrogen train will probably set you back to the tune of at least $55,000 if not more. That is just a guess, though, so take that pricing estimate with a grain of salt.


Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell

2015 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell High Resolution Exterior
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The hydrogen market is just starting to kick off, so there really isn’t a lot of competition out there yet. Sure, you could argue that the Toyota Mirai is hydrogen powered, but it is far from being an SUV, so it gets no play here. The only real competitor against the F-CELL right now is the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell. On the inside and outside, the Tucson Fuel Cell is pretty much the same as a standard Tucson, but under the metal, there is a hydrogen-powered system and a 24-kW battery that can propel the crossover up to 265 miles on a single fill-up. Horsepower comes in at 134 ponies, and torque runs at 221 pound-feet. At the time of this writing, the Tucson Fuel Cell isn’t exactly for sale. However, or $2,999 down and $499 a month you can get yourself one on a 36-month lease, and only if you live in an area with hydrogen access. Perhaps Mercedes will take the same “lease only” stance when the GLC F-CELL hits showrooms.

Read our full review on the Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cel.

Audi H-Tron

2016 Audi h-tron Quattro Concept High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Audi h-tron Quattro Concept High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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For now, the Audi H-Tron is nothing more than a concept that debuted at the Detroit Auto Show this year. It featured a near-production ready exterior and a futuristic interior, but hey it’s a concept right? Before you kick me in the groin for listing a concept vehicle against a future production vehicle, think about this. Hyundai already has a hydrogen-powered SUV on the market. Mercedes will have one by 2017, so Audi now has more motivation than ever to shift the H-Tron concept into production.

Of course, the interior will be significantly toned down, and the exterior will take some nips and tucks, but it will likely happen now that one of its main German competitors is stepping into the Hydrogen market. The Concept is said to offer close to 400 miles of range and upward of 405 pound-feet of torque. It’s hard to say where pricing will sit, but I would expect it to cost more than the Tucson Fuel Cell and more in-line with the estimated $55,000 price of the GLC F-CELL.

Read our full review on the Audi H-Tron.


2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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I’m not surprised that auto manufacturers are starting to push hydrogen technology in cars, but it does seem a little odd to see Mercedes just hit us out of the blue with a production hydrogen vehicle. Basing it on the GLC probably a smart idea considering Mercedes will have to recoup costs, and a cheaper model will help keep the hydrogen-powered variant within an affordable range. I just hope that all of these hydrogen-power vehicles that are starting to hit the market aren’t all ticking hydrogen bombs that are just waiting to go off. I doubt that is the case, but the thought does cross my mind every now and then. Otherwise, I think hydrogen fuel is a good idea, as we can obviously make it from water. I just wish we didn’t have to lose the soul and roar of an internal combustion engine in the process.

In the end, this is the future, and Mercedes has taken another big step to bringing hydrogen-powered vehicles to the masses. Give it another decade or so, and it’s quite likely that we’ll see hydrogen stations popping up on a regular basis. Furthermore, there’s the potential that, as technology improves, hydrogen-oxygen separators could be reduced in size enough that separating the two could potentially be done onboard, preventing the need for filling stations at all. Just think, one day you could walk out to go to work, grab the hose, top of your tank and let the car do the rest – now that’s the way of the future.

What do you guys think? Will hydrogen ever be as viable as gasoline and diesel, or will they eventually fade away to make room for battery-electric cars? Feed us your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • Leave it
    • May follow Hyundai’s example of being available as a lease only
    • Hydrogen is still in a limited supply
    • Will probably be costly compared the standard GLC models


2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review of the 2016 Mercedes GLC-Class

Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert -
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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Press Release

At this year’s IAA International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Mercedes-Benz is presenting preproduction models of the new Mercedes-Benz GLC F‑CELL as the next milestone on the road to emission-free driving. Under the technology designation EQ Power, the latest electric model (destined for subsequent series production) from the Mercedes-Benz family is doubly electrifying, for, in a world first, it is set to combine innovative fuel-cell and battery technology in the form of a plug-in hybrid: in addition to hydrogen, the all-electric variant of the popular SUV will also run on electricity. Intelligent interplay between battery and fuel cell, along with short refuelling times, will in future make the GLC F‑CELL a vehicle of high everyday practicality and also suitable for long-distance motoring. With 4.4 kg of hydrogen on board, the preproduction model produces enough energy for a range of up to 437* km in the NEDC. F-CELL drivers will also benefit from a range of up to 49 km in the NEDC thanks to the large lithium-ion battery. An output of 147 kW guarantees both dynamic performance and locally zero emissions driving pleasure. In unveiling the preproduction vehicles of the Mercedes-Benz GLC F‑CELL, Daimler is taking another important step as part of its systematic "CASE" strategy.

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell High Resolution Exterior
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Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, emphasises: "Our many years of experience with fuel-cell technology pay dividends in the new GLC F-CELL: its long electric range, short refuelling times and everyday practicality of an SUV will make it the perfect vehicle. This is made possible by the compact construction of our fuel-cell system. Another genuine world first is the combination with a large additional lithium-ion battery, which can be conveniently charged using plug-in technology."

Fuel-cell technology is a firm element of Daimler’s powertrain strategy. Under the EQ product brand, the company is pooling its know-how related to intelligent electric mobility while offering a comprehensive e-mobility ecosystem of products, services, technologies and innovations. EQ is therefore a key part of the company’s strategy for the mobility of the future, known at Daimler as "CASE". The four letters stand for the strategic future pillars of networking (Connected), autonomous driving (Autonomous), flexible use (Shared & Services) and electric drive systems (Electric), which are being systematically further developed and intelligently combined by the company. Between now and 2022, Daimler intends to bring out ten battery-electric vehicles, with the GLC F-CELL representing an important landmark.

Unique: two electric energy sources

The vehicles unveiled at the IAA represent a world first in which a fuel-cell-operated electric car uses a lithium-ion battery as an additional energy source that can be externally charged by means of plug-in technology. Through intelligent interplay, the two energy sources drive the electric motor while offering locally zero emissions driving pleasure. The long range, short refuelling time, an output of 147 kW (200 hp) and the latest generation of assistance systems with powertrain-specific features demonstrate, based on the models on show, that the GLC F-CELL will be a family-friendly electric vehicle of high everyday practicality.

For this world first, the Mercedes-Benz engineers cooperated closely with partners from the Daimler competence network to develop a completely new fuel-cell system. Compared with the B-Class F-CELL, which has been on the market since 2010 (fuel consumption: 0.97 kg H₂/100 km/CO₂ emissions, combined: 0 g/km), the overall drive system offers around 40 percent more output. The fuel-cell system is around 30 percent more compact than before, can for the first time be housed entirely in the engine compartment and is installed on the usual mounting points like a conventional engine. Also, the use of platinum in the fuel cell has been reduced by 90 percent. This conserves resources while lowering the system costs – with no compromises in terms of performance.

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell High Resolution Exterior
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The lithium-ion battery in the preproduction vehicles on show has a gross capacity of 13.8 kWh and additionally serves as an energy source for the electric motor. For the first time, it can also be charged externally using plug-in technology. An intelligent operating strategy in combination with the fuel-cell/battery system offers maximum efficiency and comfort. Just like the drive motor, the powerful storage battery is space-savingly installed in the rear of the SUV. By means of the 7.2 kW on-board chargers, it can be conveniently charged from a standard household power socket, a wallbox or a public charging station. The charging time is around 1.5 hours if the full capacity is used.

Two carbon-fibre-encased tanks built into the vehicle floor hold around 4.4 kg of hydrogen. Thanks to globally standardised 700 bar tank technology, the supply of hydrogen can be replenished within just three minutes, which is about the same amount of time it takes to refuel a car with an internal combustion engine.

The F-CELL vehicles on show at the IAA are powered by an asynchronous machine with an output of 147 kW (200 hp) and a torque of 350 Nm. As the electric drive requires no propeller shaft, this makes room for one of the two hydrogen tanks, while the second tank is installed under the rear seat bench.

Coordinated: operating strategy with unique variety of combinations

Like the GLC Plug-in Hybrid, the fuel-cell variant comes with various operating modes and drive programs. The drive programs of the GLC F-CELL will include ECO, COMFORT and SPORT. ECO is optimised for low consumption. COMFORT is geared not only for comfort, but also provides ideal climate control. SPORT optimises the hybrid powertrain for sporty performance.

While the drive programs change the behaviour of the car and therefore the driving experience, the operating modes influence the interplay between fuel cell and high-voltage battery. The combination of drive programs with operating modes is presented for the first time in this form in a fuel-cell vehicle.

Freedom of choice: four operating modes HYBRID – F-CELL – � � BATTERY – CHARGE

The innovative plug-in fuel-cell powertrain combines the advantages of both emission-free technologies and, thanks to its intelligent operating strategy, constantly ensures that the use of both energy sources is optimally adapted to the particular operating situation.

In HYBRID operating mode, the vehicle draws power from both energy sources. Power peaks are handled by the battery, while the fuel cell runs in the optimum efficiency range. The intelligent operating strategy means that the characteristics of both energy sources can be ideally exploited. In F-CELL mode, the state of charge of the high-voltage battery is kept constant by the energy from the fuel cell. Driving almost exclusively on hydrogen is the ideal mode if the intention is to keep the electric range in reserve for certain driving situations.

In BATTERY mode, the GLC F-CELL runs all-electrically and is powered by the high-voltage battery. The fuel-cell system is not in operation. This is the ideal mode for short distances.

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell High Resolution Exterior
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In CHARGE mode, charging the high-voltage battery has priority, for example in order to recharge the battery for the maximum overall range prior to refuelling with hydrogen. This mode also creates power reserves for uphill or very dynamic driving.

In all operating modes, the system features an energy recovery function, which makes it possible to recover energy during braking or coasting and to store it in the battery.

Safety first: getting there safely

Daimler applies extremely high safety standards in all its vehicles. This is true of both vehicles with a conventional internal combustion engine and also those with an alternative drive. This means that the vehicles comply with all legal standards and regulations. However, the internal safety requirements for Mercedes-Benz vehicles go one step further. Especially the crash-related requirements are aligned to the so-called Real Life Safety philosophy. The battery and all hydrogen-containing components are governed by particularly stringent safety standards typical of Mercedes. Alongside safety in the event of a crash, all Mercedes-Benz vehicles undergo additional component tests at system level that go far beyond the usual tests. The powertrain components and hydrogen tanks of the F-CELL preproduction vehicles are space-savingly and safely housed in the engine compartment as well as under the floor.

Like all Mercedes-Benz vehicles, the fuel-cell vehicles, too, are exemplary in terms of active and passive safety. With Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC, Lane Tracking Package with Blind Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist, Parking Package with 360° camera or COMAND Online with traffic sign recognition, the GLC F-CELL will come with safety and comfort built in as standard.

Self-assured: with the DNA of a genuine Mercedes

The GLC F-CELL models on show at the IAA demonstrate that the high expectations on a Mercedes-Benz and all Mercedes-Benz brand values in terms of comfort, sustainability, safety, quality and design are met. When it comes to loading capacity and occupant comfort, the electric SUV will offer excellent everyday practicality. The only differences will be a minimal step in the luggage compartment, familiar from the GLC Plug-in-Hybrid, and the slightly raised rear seat bench due to the positioning of the hydrogen tanks. Climate comfort in the GLC F-CELL will also be totally on a par with that in a conventional vehicle. Automatic air conditioning with pre-entry climate control as well as heated seats and mirrors are included as standard. At cooler temperatures, the vehicle will make energy-efficient use of the waste heat from the fuel cell in order to optimise the energy balance of the vehicle.

The series-production vehicle, like the preproduction models, will be equipped with coil springs on the front axle and with single-chamber air suspension with integral automatic level control on the rear axle. This means that, even when the vehicle is carrying a load, there is no change in spring travel on the rear axle, which guarantees balanced vibration characteristics with a virtually constant natural frequency of the body, including when the vehicle is loaded.

Unmistakable: Touches in the style of EQ Power

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell High Resolution Interior
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The F-CELL models on show at the IAA embody the current Mercedes-Benz design philosophy of Sensual Purity. The design premises include features that emphasise the special status in general and within the GLC family in particular. These design premises are the formal on-road attributes and the technical modifications to the exterior and interior as well as the control and display concept. Blue touches on the radiator grille and light-alloy wheels, side skirts and rear bumper on the one hand, as well as classy style wraps with F-CELL inscription on the other, provide a clearly visible indication of the fuel-cell drive. Specifically styled bumpers, with an enlarged air inlet at the front, as well as aerodynamically optimised 20-inch wheels are the hallmarks of the vehicles on show at the IAA. The interior impresses with its high-grade look & feel and flowing forms as a reinterpretation of contemporary luxury. The centre console features elegant trim with flowing lines exuding unique exclusivity in a piano-lacquer look or versatile modern wood surfaces.

Precision-styled details and the choice of authentic materials by using open-pore wood as trim and a high proportion of wool and linen for the fabric covers, make for an agreeable ambience while contributing to the classy overall impression of the interior.

The cockpit will be further enhanced by the instrument cluster in the form of a full display with 12.3-inch diagonal. Information from the COMAND system is presented on the 10.25-inch central display. The menus and indicators on the displays are geared to the functionality of the combined fuel-cell/battery powertrain. The new-type design style clearly differentiates the fuel-cell vehicle from the conventional GLC. New in the GLC F-CELL is the multifunction touchpad with handwriting recognition, which celebrates its world debut at the IAA in the unveiled preproduction vehicles. This newly developed feature allows telematics functions to be controlled by single- or multi-finger gestures (so-called Multitouch). The touchpad thus offers a full-function and innovative input option over and above LINGUATRONIC in combination with COMAND Online. The touchpad also makes it possible to enter letters, numbers and special characters by means of handwriting. Further control options are offered by Touch Control buttons on the left and right of the steering wheel as well as by voice control.

Timed to perfection: on the road to series production

Daimler is systematically working to prepare for series production of the Mercedes-Benz GLC F-CELL. With the current test fleet, the Mercedes-Benz engineers are taking the final key steps on the road to production start-up. Market-specific sales concepts, including a rental model, are being evaluated at present. Like the conventionally powered GLC, this family-friendly SUV of high everyday practicality will be produced in Bremen. During development and production of the innovative fuel-cell drive, Daimler is able to call upon its global competence network. The centrepiece of the technology, the fuel-cell stack, was developed in Vancouver, Canada, together with partner Ford in the Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation (AFCC) joint venture. Production takes place directly nearby at Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell (MBFC). The entire fuel-cell unit and the hydrogen storage system were developed by the Daimler subsidiary NuCellSys in Kirchheim/Nabern in Baden-Württemberg. The Daimler parent plant in Untertürkheim is responsible for fuel-cell system assembly, also in Nabern. The hydrogen tank system, consisting of carbon-fibre-encased tanks, is produced at Daimler’s Mannheim plant, while the lithium-ion battery comes from the wholly owned Daimler subsidiary ACCUMOTIVE in Kamenz, Saxony.

Infrastructure is key

A nationwide infrastructure is essential for the success of electric mobility. The spread of both charging stations and hydrogen filling stations is proceeding apace around the world. Whether at home, at work, on the road or when shopping: there are various ways to supply electric vehicles with power. Also when it comes to H2 infrastructure, progress is constantly being made. Together with its partners in the H2 Mobility joint venture, Daimler has already drawn up a concrete action plan. The network of H2 filling stations is scheduled to reach 100 by the end of next year. By 2023, there will be a network of up to 400 hydrogen filling stations. Similar infrastructure projects are being promoted in Europe, the USA and Japan.

Systematic approach: Daimler opts for electric mobility with fuel cell

It all began back in the 1980s, when Daimler researchers turned their attention to cold combustion. In 1994, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the first fuel-cell vehicle to the global public – the NECAR 1. Many further vehicles followed, including the A-Class F-CELL fleet. In 2011, special attention focused on the F-CELL World Drive, the first round-the-world journey in fuel-cell vehicles. In 2015, the F 015 Luxury in Motion concept car presented an F-CELL plug-in hybrid drive system, designed for 1,100 kilometres of zero emissions motoring. To date, fuel-cell vehicles from Mercedes-Benz, including the B-Class F-CELL and the Citaro FuelCELL Hybrid urban bus, have together covered over eighteen million kilometres, thereby demonstrating the maturity of the powertrain concept. The next technological advance is now imminent, the GLC F-CELL.

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