The first Mercedes fuel cell vehicle (FCV) lease in the U. S. is going to Hollywood’s Executive Director of the Producers Guild of America. Mr. Vance Van Petten will be driving the Mercedes B-Class F-Cell FCV around the Hollywood Hills and beyond in Southern California.
Now, it’s no secret that Hollywood types like the status of driving around in Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Some of the more green celebrities even choose to drive a couple of different models of Mercedes hybrid vehicles.
But, the Mercedes B-Class F-Cell is a different vehicle altogether, first because it runs on compressed hydrogen gas and second, only 70 of these models will be produced and driven in the Los Angeles area by 2012.
Mr. Vance Van Petten is reportedly paying $849 per month for a three year lease of this vehicle. The Mercedes FCV gets about 54 mpg and has a range of around 240 miles (similar to that of a Honda Clarity also being leased in the SoCal area).
Van Petten has worked at several television studios over the years before becoming the head of the Producers Guild. Working for several different companies as the head of Business and Legal Affairs he oversaw the production of such TV shows as Law & Order, Hercules & Xena, The Maury Povich Show, America’s Most Wanted, A Current Affair, Cops, Entertainment Tonight, Hard Copy and The Arsenio Hall Show.
I’ve driven the Mercedes B-Class F-Cell before and it is a fine enough vehicle. My personal preference would be the Honda Clarity since it has more get up and go, is a bit larger and it’s lease price is less at $600 per month.
Then again if I were a Hollywood-type where image is everything I would probably opt for the Mercedes. Anyway, it’s a positive sign that another carmaker has so much faith in hydrogen vehicles as the future of the automotive industry that they are willing to rollout dozens of FCVs in limited production in Southern California (plus over 100 more elsewhere, mainly in Europe).
If you happen to live in the Los Angeles area and want to take a shot at leasing a Mercedes FCV then you can sign up here.