Glc F-Cell Goes Into Preproduction: World’s First Electric Vehicle With Fuel-Cell/Battery Powertrain

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.

Mercedes-Benz GLC F

Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, emphasizes: “Our many years of experience with fuel-cell technology pay dividends in the new GLC F- CELL: its long electric range, short refueling 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.”

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 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.

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 optimized for low consumption. COMFORT is geared not only for comfort, but also provides ideal climate control. SPORT optimizes the hybrid powertrain for sporty performance.

While the drive programs change the behavior 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.

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 refueling 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.

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