A hydrogen fuel cell variant of the GLC crossover is expected to be presented by Mercedes-Benz in 2017, according to a report by autoevolution.com. The upcoming environmentally friendly version of the GLC class will be referred to as the GLC F-Cell. The expected range is around 300 miles or around 500 kilometers and will be equipped with the latest fuel cell technology on the market. This was demonstrated by the head of the research and development department at Mercedes-Benz, Thomas Weber.
The fuel cell variant of the GLC will also contain advanced modular components. A detailed technical solution had to be developed to ensure that the components of fuel cell vehicles and pure electric vehicles are compatible with each other. The fuel cell components of the upcoming vehicle are installed directly under the bonnet. On the other hand, the space where the fuel tank is normally located is used to store the battery and the hydrogen tank. For this reason, the space in the passenger compartment and in the trunk of the upcoming GLC F-Cell remains essentially the same.
Using this particular solution offers the manufacturer a number of advantages as it lowers development and production costs, which in turn lowers the cost of the technology in the future. Similar solutions can be seen in the development of the internal combustion engine, and a number of manufacturers are already starting to use modular platforms.
While the automaker is inexpensive, it may have to deal with some risks when using this solution. Any faults during the development or production phase of the shared components require a callback to ensure that all GLC-F-Cell units are repaired. However, the advantage of having inexpensive fuel cell and electric vehicles on the market outweighs the risk that manufacturers face.
Weber said in an interview with Autocar that the vehicle is currently in the roll-out phase. In addition, Mercedes-Benz engineers achieved additional innovations in the development of the German luxury vehicle manufacturer’s first mass-produced electric vehicle.
The GLC F-Cell may not be the company’s first fuel cell or electric vehicle, but it is the first vehicle to be offered in the market in a traditional fashion and it is not limited to a lease program.