Three Mercedes-Benz vehicles on the occasion of the 125th birthday of the automobile have crossed through 14 countries on four different continents on a World Drive. After 70 days of driving and more than 18,000 miles, the B-Class F-Cell’s have circled the globe and returned home to Stuttgart becoming the first round-the-world drive with fuel-cell vehicles. The three hydrogen powered Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL vehicles with zero local emissions drive-lines crossed the finish line on June 1, 2011 in front of the Mercedes-Benz Museum.
The purpose of the World Drive was to establish a comprehensive network of hydrogen fueling stations – a crucial factor for the market success of this technology. So far, there are only approximately 200 fuel stations worldwide at which fuel cell vehicles can be refueled. A primary focus of Mercedes-Benz is to see to it that, in future, drivers all over the world will be able to refuel with hydrogen – just as they do today with gasoline and diesel fuel.
The exclusive partner for hydrogen supply on the F-CELL World Drive was the Linde Group. Thanks to its hydrogen knowledge and global presence, it was able to guarantee fuel supply throughout the entire trip. A jointly developed mobile refueling unit based on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter accompanied the tour – the only way to ensure fuel supply even on the most remote stretches.
After 70 days of driving, participants in the F-CELL World Drive collected an abundance of travel notes documenting the multi-faceted aspects of the tour and, at the same time, underscoring the everyday usability of the fuel cell technology on board the B-Class F-CELL. The record distance of 648 kilometers was split between two stretches of more than 300 kilometers each.
The F-CELL World Drive has a direct connection to the world’s very first long-distance drive – the pioneering endeavor of Bertha Benz, who, in 1888, completed the first cross-country drive with the Benz Patent-Motorwagen from Mannheim to Pforzheim. She faced in principle a similar challenge as her successors with the B-Class F-CELL – she, too, could not exactly roll into the next fuel station and top up.
Ray Catena Motor Cars sells Mercedes-Benz in Edison and Union, NJ.
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