Mercedes Debuts GLC F-Cell Plug-in Hybrid Compact SUV in Frankfurt
This week in Frankfurt, Mercedes-Benz revealed the GLC F-Cell “preproduction” plug-in hybrid SUV that relies on two power sources. The latest alternative-fuel compact premium SUV that seats 5 now combines fuel-cell and Lithium-ion battery power in a plug-in hybrid that is set to reach the U.S. market by late 2019.
The new emission-free F-Cell SUV offers a practical range of up to 271 miles based on 147 kW of hydrogen power and energy from a Lithium-ion battery that on its own provides 30 miles of range, according to Mercedes. Combined power produced for the electric motor equals 197 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque with top speed limited to 99 mph.
Short refueling times and everyday practicality are benefits, according to a Daimler R&D official. Mercedes’ newest fuel-cell system offers 40% more output than the previous 2010 B-Class F-Cell’s system. The fuel-cell system holds 9.7 lbs. of hydrogen and is nearly 30% more compact than the earlier one, Mercedes says. It uses 90% less platinum, too, which reduces costs.
Conveniently, hydrogen tanks can be refueled in 3 minutes, or about the same time it takes to fill up a gasoline-powered vehicle. For added peace of mind, Lithium-ion battery power with a capacity of 13.8 kWh offers 30 miles of range and can be recharged in about 1.5 hours with a 7.2-kW on-board charger from household outlets or public charging stations.
Mercedes’ GLC F-Cell, set apart on the outside by an F-Cell inscription and blue touches on the radiator grille plus larger 20-in. light-alloy wheels, features Eco, Comfort, and Sport performance driving modes that operate with one of four selected operating choices: Hybrid, Hydrogen, Battery, and Charge mode.
Inside, the cabin features the same “high-grade look and contemporary luxury” of the conventionally powered GLC, except that it has a step in the cargo area and raised rear seat due to hydrogen tank storage. A larger, 12.3-in. instrument cluster digital display plus 10.25-in. infotainment system screen with multi-function touchpad and handwriting recognition are new elements. The F-Cell also includes advanced driver-safety systems plus parking package with traffic sign recognition.
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