Mercedes-Benz is officially competing with Toyota and Honda in the nascent hydrogen-car market.
Mercedes on Tuesday unveiled a hydrogen version of its GLC midsize SUV. The automaker has been developing a hydrogen fuel-cell stack through a joint venture with Ford and is ready to show the results of their four-year effort.
Scroll down for a closer look at the GLC F-Cell that will hit the US market by the end of 2019:
Mercedes' GLC F-Cell will come equipped with two carbon-fibre tanks capable of holding 4.4 kilograms of hydrogen and a separate 9.3 kWh battery pack. The battery pack can help power the vehicle when hydrogen runs low.
Mercedes was smart to install its hydrogen tech in an SUV because the tanks take up so much room. Passengers shouldn't be as cramped as they would be in a Honda Clarity or Toyota Mirai.
Here's the fuel-cell stack in all her glory. Combined with the battery, the Mercedes says the SUV can drive 430km on a single charge, according to NEDC standards. The car will have a lower range estimate in the US once it's rated by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Mercedes says the car can get up to 197-hp and 278 lb.-ft. of torque. It can reach an electronically-limited top speed of 160km/h.
The car offers the same perks as a hybrid by having a longer range than purely electric vehicles. But it's also a truly zero-emissions vehicle for people who want to ditch combustion engines altogether.
Hydrogen-powered cars are also easier to maintain. It only take a few minutes to fill a hydrogen tank, but charging a battery takes over 30 minutes.
The car comes with three different drive modes: eco, comfort, and sport. Sport will optimise the powertrain for more demanding performance while comfort is for average drives. Eco, as the name suggests, is best if you want to save fuel but are OK compromising on power.
There are also four operating modes: hybrid, f-cell, battery, and charge. F-cell means the car will primarily draw from the hydrogen tank to preserve battery life.
There are many perks to owning a hydrogen-powered car, but the US does not have an infrastructure to support them.
There are currently 39 hydrogen stations in the US compared to 16,237 electric charging stations, according to the US Department of Energy. Thirty-five of those stations are in California.
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