DaimlerChrysler Launches First U.S. Fleet of Fuel-Cell Vehicles in 2004
DaimlerChrysler announced that it has launched the world's first fleet of fuel-cell passenger cars. The fuel-cell vehicle, based on the Mercedes-Benz A- Class passenger car, is called the F-Cell and is being demonstrated and tested in Europe, the United States, Japan, and Singapore. Since introducing the first NECAR (New Electric Car) in 1994, DaimlerChrysler has produced 20 concept vehicles, such as the NECAR series and the Chrysler Town & Country Natrium. These vehicles have been designed to operate on a variety of fuels, including methanol, gasoline, liquid, and gaseous hydrogen and sodium borohydride, a borax-like compound. The F-Cell vehicles will be powered by compressed hydrogen. The fuel cell system is provided by DaimlerChrysler's Fuel Cell Alliance partner, Ballard Power Systems. The Mercedes-Benz A-Class F-Cell is manufactured under near-standard conditions and will be operated and tested by commercial customers in everyday use within the framework of government-sponsored international cooperative ventures. DaimlerChrysler is also currently testing fuel cell-powered Sprinter vans in a delivery fleet and fuel cell-powered Citaro buses. In the F-Cell, the entire Ballard fuel cell system is accommodated in the sandwich floor of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class. Its tanks supply compressed hydrogen directly to the fuel cell system, giving the F-Cell a cruising range of approximately 100 miles. The electric motor has an output of 65 kW. The vehicle accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in about 14 seconds and gets a top speed of approximately 85 mph. This performance makes the F-Cell suitable for everyday use. In addition, the vehicle has true zero emissions and is quiet in operation.