• Minister President Kretschmann: There must be more emission-free cars on the roads
“The federal state of Baden-Württemberg is the home of the automobile. We are sending a signal for the future by actively opting for emission-free technology. It will be impossible to imagine our roads without vehicles employing these alternative drive systems,” said Minister President Winfried Kretschmann during the handover of his new official car in Berlin on 12 December 2013. In future he will travel around the German capital in a fuel cell-powered Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL. “Baden-Württemberg is demonstrating its environmental awareness with vehicles such as this and the use of renewable electric power. We do not just talk about the sustainable use of renewables – we actually practice what we preach,” the Minister President emphasised.
Prof. Dr. Herbert Kohler, Vice President Group Research and Sustainability, Chief Environmental Officer of Daimler AG, officially handed over the vehicle in Berlin. “We firmly believe in electric mobility for the future – using the battery and fuel cell in equal measure. Successful commercialisation needs teamwork, however. We are very gratified that Minister President Kretschmann is sending out a clear signal in this direction with his new official car,” said Kohler.
The electric power driving the Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL is generated directly on board in the fuel cell stack by a reaction between the oxygen in the air and hydrogen. There is no emission of pollutants, only pure water vapour. Thanks to the 700-bar high-pressure fuel tank system, the car has a long operating range of around 400 kilometres and can be refuelled in the short time of under three minutes. The car combines locally emission-free mobility with long-distance and day-to-day suitability and good performance figures. Produced under series production conditions, the Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL has already been in day-to-day use with customers in the European and American markets since 2010. The total mileage of the Daimler fuel cell fleet, which now numbers more than 300 vehicles including numerous research vehicles, has now reached the nine million kilometre mark. Numbering around 70 vehicles, the F-CELL fleet in the USA has now covered 1.6 million kilometres, which alone represents a saving of around 113,500 litres of fuel and almost 270 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
“It is important to create an infrastructure that makes the widespread use of such vehicles possible for more people,” Minister President Kretschmann stressed. “As a next step, the technology must be made accessible to customers worldwide. Politicians, energy providers and automobile manufacturers must set the scene for this in close international dialogue,” Prof. Kohler added.
The new, official F-CELL of Minister Kretschmann is the second electric vehicle in the federal state’s fleet, running alongside the car which is already in operation for the Baden-Württemberg Environment Ministry, Since February 2011 two smart fortwo electric drive cars have also been in local emission-free operation for the state of Baden-Württemberg’s representation in Berlin.
In early 2013, in a bid to speed up the widespread market availability of this emission-free technology, Daimler, Ford and Nissan concluded a cooperation agreement covering the joint development of a fuel cell system. The aim is to make competitive electric vehicles available on the market for the first time from 2017. Major advances are to be expected by then, especially with regard to the H2 infrastructure. This is due not least to the cross-sector commitment of the H2 Mobility initiative in which Daimler AG is involved, which has recently presented an action plan for the expansion of the German H2 infrastructure to around 400 H2 filling stations by 2023. The declared aim is the use of hydrogen from renewable resources.