Two electric car concepts at Mercedes

As CO2 measurements get tougher and calls for green vehicles get louder, Mercedes-Benz has developed two new concepts for electric cars. The first one are the battery-powered E-Cell models and the second one the hydrogen-powered F-Cell hybrid models. Not only is the technology of the two concepts different but also their purpose on the streets. While the E-Cell range is designed for short distances, the F-Cell hybrid cars can go much further.

Mercedes F Cell
Mercedes F Cell

The German car brand Mercedes-Benz caters for every need in the electric vehicle market. The battery-powered E-Cell models are aimed at drivers who need a ride for short distances or for their commute to work. With an average reach of 125 miles, the E-Cell isn’t an all-rounder family car but serves it purpose for the environmental conscious consumer. The electric motor of the Mercedes A-Class comes with 70 kW and 95 horsepower. It is equipped with two 16.5 kWh E-Cell stacks lithium-ion batteries.

The hydrogen-powered F-Cell vehicles, on the other hand, are the answer for fans of green cars but who don’t want to miss the comfort of taking a day trip in one go instead of having to charge the car half way through the journey. The Mercedes-Benz B-Class, for example, is a hybrid vehicle that is primarily fuelled by hydrogen. The hydrogen tanks for hydrogen fuel contain enough fuel for a 250 miles drive. The additional battery stack with 3 kWh is used to get the car started and to save recovered energy. The car is equipped with a 100 kW and 136 hp engine. Thanks to the fuel cell technology, the reaction of hydrogen and oxygen, the car only produces heat and water in addition to energy as a side product.

Although the technology of Mercedes cars is highly advanced already, both the E-Cell and F-Cell models can’t offer the same reach as cars with internal combustion engines. Battery prices are decreasing but they are still too expensive to equip a car with enough stacks to increase the car’s reach significantly. Batteries are also too heavy increasing the vehicle’s weight leading to the need of more batteries. A vicious cycle. For example, a battery with the capacity of one kWh weighs between eight and ten kilograms and costs around £315. An electric car engine with the reach of 300 miles and a use of 20 kWh per 60 miles would need a battery stack weighing around 800 kilograms and costing approximately £31.500.

However, this is not to say that technology won’t catch up, reducing either the price or the weight of the batteries, or hopefully both. Besides the setback of the limited reach, both the E-Cell and F-Cell models offer advantages over the classic internal combustion engine vehicles. Electric and hybrid cars are cheaper to produce and cheaper to run. They are extremely quiet, reducing urban noise levels, and emit zero local emissions.

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