Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell Roadster takes inspiration from history

Apprentices at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen, Germany have built a unique fuel cell powered Roadster. For about a year, more than 150 junior engineers worked on the overall concept.

It uses a host of state of the art technologies such as carbon fibre bucket seats, double wishbone front suspension, joystick controlled drive-by-wire steering and a 1.2kW fuel cell to enable a top speed of 25 km/h and a range of up to 350 km. But it combines this with influence from historic vehicle design, the most obvious feature are the large spoke wheels inspired by the Benz Patent Motor Car of 1886.

The F-Cell recently covered a section of the historic route taken by Bertha Benz in 1888. "This trip is symbolic of the current change taking place in automobile engineering," says Dr. Thomas Weber, a member of the Daimler AG Executive Board responsible for corporate research and development at Mercedes-Benz Cars.

"Bertha Benz was not able to purchase the petrol she needed at a filling station, and for emission-free mobility we are also dependent on the widespread distribution of fuels for the future – electric power and hydrogen."

Before the end of the year, the company will commence small-series production of the B-Class with a fuel cell drive system. At the end of 2009 the first examples of the Smart Fortwo electric drive model will also leave the production line to enter service.

J Cunningham

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