Mercedes-Benz Delivers Zero-Emission Vehicle

The first new Mercedes-Benz F-CELL hydrogen-powered B-Class vehicles are now available to California residents, making emission-free driving a reality. 

Vance Van Petten took the keys to the first such vehicle available to U.S. customers during an official hand-over at the newly renovated dealership of Fletcher Jones Mercedes-Benz in Newport Beach. It was announced Wednesday.

Van Petten is part of a select group of people who are participating in a Mercedes-Benz lease program for the B-Class F-CELL Hydrogen car.

As part of an initiative to further develop F-CELL vehicles and gain real-world experience in the United States, these vehicles will also be used to provide driving data to the Department of Energy (DOE) to support their Hydrogen to the Highways program.

[ Also Read: Mercedes-Benz Dealers will Get Apple iPad ]

While moving toward the emerging market for green vehicles, Automaker Nissan has also delivered Nissan LEAF, which is said to be the world’s first delivery of a Nissan LEAF all-electric vehicle (EV) for the mass market. (Read: Nissan All-Electric LEAF Comes on Road)

[ Also Read: Hot List of 10 Future Collector Cars ]

Among the other developments in the electric vehicle (EV) segment, the 2011 Chevrolet Volt has been named Green Car Journal’s 2011 Green Car of the Year.

The Volt is the first-ever electric vehicle to take top prize, it is said. This award welcomes a new genre of mass-production electric vehicles. (Read: Chevrolet Volt Named 2011 Green Car of the Year)

[ Also Read: Five Finalists for Green Car of the Year Award ]

As the action is getting hot in the EV market, major auto companies around the world are introducing their new models.

Toyota’s comprehensive technology strategy, for example, is a portfolio approach that includes a long-term commitment to hydrogen fuel cells, plug-in hybrids and battery electrics all driven by the further proliferation of conventional gas-electric hybrids, like Prius, as its core technology.

Toyota has announced that coinciding with the arrival of the RAV4 EV in 2012, it will launch, in key global markets, the Prius PHV (plug-in hybrid) and a small EV (Electric Vehicle) commuter vehicle. (Read: Toyota Plans to Produce New Electric Vehicles)

[ Also Read: North American Intl Auto Show in Jan ]

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation also decided to host the world premiere of the North American version of its i-MiEV new-generation electric vehicle at the Los Angeles Auto Show. (Read: Mitsubishi i-MiEV at the LA Auto Show)

Due to the restricted number of Hydrogen fueling stations, Mercedes-Benz sought prospects for the F-CELL lease through its own survey and vetting process to determine who among the many applicants would become among the first to lease the F-CELL hydrogen vehicles.  Those interested in leasing an F-CELL can visit to get additional information and apply.

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Powered by an electric motor with 134 horsepower and 215 lb-ft of torque, the new B-Class F-CELL provides driving performance comparable to a similar conventional car while using about half the fuel, claims the company.

The car utilizes a fuel cell stack for generating electricity and a lithium ion battery for energy storage. Taking only approximately three minutes to refuel, the B-Class F-CELL emits only water as a by-product of the fuel cell system.

“The introduction of the F-CELL in California marks the beginning of zero emission Fuel Cell technology in the US for Mercedes-Benz,” said Sascha Simon, head of advanced product planning at Mercedes-Benz USA. 

The F-Cell made an appearance this summer at the US Open Tennis Championships where Mercedes-Benz is the official vehicle. It played its part within the overall green fleet for VIP and player transportation, which also included Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid sedans.

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Rakesh Raman