In August 2009 I had talked about how Daimler had stated that they would be starting serial production of their Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-Cell hydrogen fuel cell vehicles this year. Now, promises of building fuel cell autos have been a dime a dozen over the years but Daimler has made good on its promise by starting production on the first 200 FCVs on December 14, 2009.
The Mercedes B-Class F-Cell will be the first fuel cell vehicle to go into serial production. Sure, General Motors is in the process of building 200 FCV test autos for their Project Driveway program. And, sure again, Honda is in the process of building 200 Clarity vehicles for lease at $600 per month for 3 years with an uncertain future after that.
But, Daimler has decided to go full steam ahead with their hydrogen auto, beating the 2015 timeframe that many other automakers have given for the serial production of their FCVs. In September 2009, I had talked about how Daimler and seven other large companies had signed on to the H2 Mobility Plan for Germany in erecting hydrogen fueling stations for the upcoming autos that will be rolling out.
The Mercedes B-Class F-Cells will likely be rolling out in Germany first, with a few going to California as well, which already has some semblance of a Hydrogen Highway fueling system in place. The Daimler B-Class F-Cell uses a next generation fuel cell, a 10,000 psi compressed hydrogen tank and has a range of around 250 miles.
There has been no word yet on the price of the Daimler FCV when it rolls off the production line in 2010. If Daimler wants the B-Class F-Cell to be a success, which they surely do, they will need to make it affordable and serviceable locally.