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Fuel cell technology is an integral part of Daimler's powertrain strategy. #mercedesbenz has already gathered experience with hydrogen-powered electric vehicles over several vehicle generations. To date, the fleet of Daimler fuel cell vehicles, which together with a host of research vehicles numbers more than 300, has collectively covered nearly 18 million kilometres.
The next generation of fuel cell vehicles from #mercedesbenz is currently being developed based on the GLC. The pre-production vehicle of the #mercedesbenz GLC F‑CELL, which will be displayed publicly for the first time at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2017, combines the innovative fuel cell and battery technology into a plug-in hybrid. With it, Daimler substantiates its technology leadership and makes a statement within its CASE innovation strategy. CASE stand for the fields of: networking (Connected), autonomous driving (Autonomous), flexible use (Shared & Services) and electric drive systems (Electric). Currently, #mercedesbenz is getting ready for the series production of the fuel cell vehicles.
The road to series production: simulation, test rigs, road testing
Automobiles are initially developed on the computer. The first crash tests, aerodynamics analyses or chassis tests are also conducted in the virtual world using electronic simulations, long before the first prototype is built.
Intensive functional and fatigue testing of individual components and later also of the complete test vehicles on a host of test rigs speed up the development process. The Fuel Cell Centre of Competence Nabern east of Stuttgart plays a crucial role in the GLC F‑CELL. The fuel cell experts used about 200 tonnes of hydrogen in their developments tests since 2015. The only "exhaust gas" emitted was water vapour – 1800 tonnes of it in all.
The Vehicle Safety Technology Center (TFS), which opened in November 2016 as the world's most modern crash test centre, offers entirely new possibilities for testing vehicles with alternative powertrains, vehicle-to-vehicle tests or for the design of assistance systems and PRE‑SAFE®. The GLC F‑CELL received its aerodynamic finishing touches in the wind tunnels in the #mercedesbenz Technology Center in Sindelfingen: Even the most extreme weather events can be moved indoors here. Temperatures ranging from minus 40 to plus 60 degrees Celsius, hurricanes with wind speeds of up to 265 km/h, tropical downpours and heavy snowstorms are all part of the standard repertoire available to the test engineers.
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