In April 2009, Daimler first made a small and mostly unheralded announcement that they would start production of a fuel cell car in the middle of 2009 that would start rolling out in limited production in 2010. Little was made of this at the time.
Now, Daimler has announced that 200 Mercedes F-Cell B-Class hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will start production in the 3rd quarter 2009 and rollout in early 2010. The Mercedes FCV will have 134 hp, a range of 250 miles and an MPG equivalent of 86.6 city and highway miles combined.
The Mercedes F-Cell B-Class will also be equipped with a 35 kw lithium ion battery pack, regenerative braking and can start in temperatures as cold as minus 25 degrees C. The Mercedes F-Cell B-Class will boast 10,000 psi hydrogen tanks that can be refueled in as little as three minutes.
Daimler had already put 60 F-Cell A-Class test vehicles on the road and the Mercedes F-Cell B-Class was introduced in 2005 also as a test vehicle. The 200 F-Cell B-Class vehicles will be delivered to customers both in the U. S. and Europe in 2010, but whether this is a buy or lease deal has not been released yet.
As the critics continue to pan hydrogen cars as impractical the major automakers such as GM, Honda and Daimler continue to rollout a couple hundred production vehicles apiece with plans to scale up production over the next 3 to 5 years.