Zero Emissions Mercedes-benz Sprinter F-cell Motorhome With Hydrogen Fuel Cell

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter F-Cell motorhome

Electric mobility is likely to have problems with heavier and longer-haul vehicles . The fuel cell could be your solution – as with the Concept F-Cell.

If all vehicles were electric, what would become of the burgeoning motorhome industry? Will the manufacturers also be able to get caravans with great autonomy ? Tesla has already twice canceled a corresponding test with a Model X and a trailer in the last minute. Let each one interpret it as they want. If you drive a 100% electric motorhome, you probably want many miles of autonomy. That is why they already want to commercialize trucks with hydrogen.

It is indisputable that electric mobility will continue to have an autonomy problem for a long time to come despite all the advances we are seeing in battery technology, especially for long-distance travel. Many see the fuel cell, in which electricity is generated from hydrogen (and oxygen), which in turn drives an electric motor, as an emergency lifeline. Mercedes-Benz and other manufacturers have been researching the technology for years, some of which can already be purchased from Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai. Mercedes-Benz will soon sell the F-Cell GLC to “selected customers.”

But now, Mercedes-Benz have surprised us at an event in Hamburg, where their Sprinter and the new 100% electric eVito were presented for the world premiere of the Concept Sprinter F-Cell. In collaboration with Hymer, who took care of the living area, they presented a seven-meter vehicle with a fuel cell drive unit, which fits under the hood. When Mercedes-Benz began researching in the 1990s, all of the useful space in the small delivery van was still taken up by technology. Today, it takes up hardly any useful space, except for an additional hydrogen tank, which has its place in the bike garage and acts a bit as an emergency solution.

The Sprinter can store 7.4 kg of hydrogen in four tanks, 1.5 kg each in three cylinders – the same tanks used for the GLC F-Cell. In addition, the rear tank has a capacity of 2.9 kg. This allows to reach a range of 500 kilometers. As the Concept Sprinter is strictly a hybrid car, another 30 km are added. They incorporate a relatively small 9.2 kWh battery, it is also the same as in the GLC. Although technically a fuel cell car could also run without a battery, it is always installed, among other things because it prevents braking energy from being wasted uselessly. The engine is located directly on the rear axle and has 147 kW (200 HP). Removing the tank from the bike garage would reduce the range by almost 200 kilometers.

The fuel cell is part of the electrical future.

The fuel cell is part of the electric future

Christian Mohrdieck, responsible for the development of fuel cells at Daimler, sees a mature technology, only that it is still too expensive for the end customer. However, the company has managed to drastically reduce the costly platinum used in fuel cells. Not much more of the precious metal is used than in a three-way catalytic converter, Mohrdieck says. The amount of platinum is reduced by 90% compared to the previous generation. The tanks, which must withstand a pressure of 700 bar and therefore always have a cylindrical or round shape, are also very complex. Any way like gasoline cars is not possible.

But since hydrogen can fill more or less like gasoline, there are no autonomy or charging problems either; that’s the great charm of technology. But that presupposes enough service stations. Mohrdieck must admit they are still missing. There are currently almost 50 service stations in Germany, but the network is expected to grow to 400 stations in the next few years. This is the plan for a joint venture between the oil companies (Shell, OMV, Total), the hydrogen specialists Linde and Air Liquide and Daimler. Daimler is the only car manufacturer directly involved. Associated companies include BMW, Volkswagen, Hyundai, Honda and Toyota.

For the federal government, too, the fuel cell is part of the electric future ; half of the costs for the construction of a hydrogen filling station are currently provided by the government.

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