While critics are disregarding the wisdom of rolling out hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in the year 2015, Mercedes (and all of the other major automakers) is plunging straight ahead. Assuming that we all make it past the Mayan end of times prophecy for December 21, 2012, perhaps the dawning of the Age of Aquarius is actually the beginning of a new energy paradigm especially in the transportation sector.
Mercedes will be doing its part by selling small production quantities of the E Superlight hydrogen fuel cell car in 2015.
According to MSN Autos, the Mercedes E Superlight will run using “… a 150-horsepower fuel cell driving the rear wheels in conjunction with a 500-horsepower electric motor. It will be a 4-door saloon based loosely on the next-generation E-Class, and it will eschew aluminum architecture for a full carbon-fiber monocoque that fully integrates the suspension and drivetrain. Also: suicide doors. Even cooler from a visual standpoint: Said suicide doors won’t need reinforcing B-posts, thanks to the strength of the carbon material.”
So, what is interesting about this to me is that Mercedes is downplaying the fuel cell as no big deal since they’ve already agreed to put out one or more models of fuel cell vehicles by 2015. With the E Silverlight, Mercedes is featured the carbon fiber body on its mid-size 4 door sedan which is strong, durable, lightweight and fuel efficient.
In fact, Mercedes is so matter-of-fact about the fuel cell in the vehicle that its says it will roll this out first, and if all works out well, it may offer the same sedan with other powertrains later such as diesel, gasoline and some sort of plug-in hybrid. Clearly Mercedes is thinking fuel cell first with the E Superlight.