A few months after initial reports about a fuel cell Mercedes-Benz GLC, the three-pointed star has officially confirmed a production version for next year.
Previewed by a prototype at the brand’s “Road to the Future” event in Stuttgart, the GLC F-Cell will be the world’s first production fuel cell vehicle to get a usable all-electric range, thanks to plug-in capabilities that will charge the lithium-ion battery pack, providing enough energy for roughly 30 miles (48 km).
The technology’s centerpiece will be, however, the fuel-cell stack, co-developed with Ford, fitted in the space that would normally accommodate the internal combustion unit. The system sends power to an electric motor that sets the rear wheels in motion, but don’t expect a four-wheel drive variant, as this won’t be part of the package.
Contributing to its maximum range of 310 miles (500 km) are two carbon-fiber-encased tanks placed on the floor, with a total capacity of 4.3 kg stored at a pressure of 700 bar. Refilling them will take just 3 minutes, comparable to the time it normally takes to refuel a vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine.
Slated to go on sale next year in key markets such as Germany, United States and Japan with the UK to follow in 2018, the GLC F-Cell will take on other hydrogen-powered vehicles such as the Hyundai ix35/Tucson, Toyota Mirai and Honda Clarity.