Mercedes-Benz is launching a new trial for fuel-cell cars in Germany, with aims to study real-world use patterns.
Mercedes will begin leasing its GLC F-Cell fuel-cell SUVs to fleet customers in Germany for $917 a month, according to a report in Automotive News Europe (Subscription required.) No information was available about how many GLC F-Cells the company plans to lease or for how long.
The GLC F-Cell has a 9-kwh battery with a plug-in range of up to 31 miles on a charge (using the generous European driving cycle) for when the driver can't find a hydrogen station.
The fuel-cell itself uses 90 percent less platinum than earlier Mercedes efforts and fits under the hood of the car. Hydrogen tanks under the floor hold 4 kg of hydrogen compressed to 10,000 psi. that give the GLC F-Cell a total range of just over 300 miles (again, on the optimistic NEDC European drive cycle.)
Fuel cells have taken a back seat to battery electric cars as hydrogen refueling infrastructure has been slow to spread.
Germany is expected to have 100 hydrogen fueling stations by next year, and Daimler (Mercedes's parent company) says the number could quadruple by 2023.
Mercedes-Benz was a leader in developing fuel-cell cars through the 1970s, '80s, and into the '90s, and is reportedly trying to keep a toehold in fuel cells.
Daimler executives told reporters in Stuttgart this week that the real-world test with consumers will help refine the fuel-cell technology.
Mercedes is in the midst of launching its first of 10 upcoming battery electric cars under its new EQ brand.
The first, Mercedes's EQC will share the GLC architecture with the F-Cell. The EQC is expected to have a range of 200 miles on a battery charge in Europe.
The company has said it expects battery electric cars to account for 15 to 25 percent of deliveries by 2025.