Mercedes-Benz underlined once more its commitment to the development of automobiles with emission-free fuel cell power units at the 2005 39th Tokyo Motor Show. The new F 600 HYGENIUS is the latest in the series of sensational research vehicles from Mercedes-Benz that point the way forwards for the future. Powered by a zero-emission fuel cell drive with an output of 85 kW/115 hp, the compact-class car with a family-friendly design consumes the equivalent of 2.9 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres and has an operating range in excess of 400 kilometres. The performance and cold start characteristics of the groundbreaking drive unit have also undergone considerable improvement.
“This represents a major step towards bringing the fuel cell drive up to full production maturity, a goal that we aim to achieve some time between 2012 and 2015,” comments Dr. Thomas Weber, DaimlerChrysler AG Board Member for Research & Technology and Head of Development at the Mercedes Car Group. “By developing the fuel cell, we are creating a new basis for supplying energy in tomorrow’s vehicles which will make a further lasting improvement to their environmental compatibility.” In addition to the fuel cell technology, the Mercedes-Benz research vehicle also showcases a novel new operating concept with virtual displays and new-style seats, along with other pioneering technologies designed to enhance safety and passenger comfort.
Fuel cells use the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to generate electrical power in a process that produces no emissions. Professor Herbert Kohler, Director of Vehicle Body and Drive Research at DaimlerChrysler: “We have made some crucial advances to this trailblazing technology. Despite being around 40 per cent more compact than previously, the fuel cell in the F 600 HYGENIUS now runs more efficiently than ever and is notable for its good cold-start capabilities. This has been achieved thanks to the inclusion of innovations such as the redesigned fuel stacks, the electric turbocharger for supplying air and an all-new humidification and dehumidification system.”
The F 600 HYGENIUS achieves a maximum power output of 85 kW/115 hp combined with a peak torque of 350 Nm (258 lb-ft). The fuel cell drive alone generates a constant power output of 60 kW/82 hp and a torque of 250 Nm (184 lb-ft).
With any surplus energy being stored in a powerful lithium-ion battery, the system acts in a similar fashion to a hybrid drive, selecting the best power source to use depending on the driving situation. When parking or manoeuvring, for instance, the electric motor draws its power from the battery alone, while both fuel cell and battery feed it with energy in unison when the vehicle is accelerating, producing the peak power output of 85 kW/115 hp.
The drive technology, the high-voltage battery and the hydrogen tank have all been housed in a space-saving manner beneath the occupant cell, while the high-torque electric motor – which is also a new development from Mercedes-Benz – has been integrated into the rear-axle carrier. The lithium-ion battery is featuring for the first time in a fuel cell vehicle from Mercedes-Benz and is a further key factor in the increase in power.