The German brand is all about electrification at the Frankfurt Motor Show – well almost, considering the S Class Coupe and Cabrio – and it’s even bringing first-ever innovations.
After being previewed by a prototype, here we have what may be the best of both worlds in terms of electric power – the series pre-production version of the GLC F-Cell mixes hydrogen with plug-in battery power. We’re inching closer to the arrival of a functioning fuel-cell-powered luxury crossover that can also plug in and charge its on-board batteries. This is a unique powertrain indeed – the GLC is not only a plug-in hybrid, but also a fuel cell model – so there’s actually no combustion engine under the body. The setup provides plenty of power – 197 horsepower (147 kilowatts) and 258 pound-feet (350 Newton-meters) of torque, with an estimated range of 272 miles (437 kilometers) in the New European Driving Cycle test, next to 30 miles (49 km) of pure battery power.
The fuel cell setup has 9.7 pounds (4.4 kilograms) of hydrogen in two carbon-fiber tanks – one fitted to where the driveshaft usually lied, and the other under the rear seats. It’s also more efficient than inside the B-Class fuel cell – 30 percent smaller, 40 percent more powerful and makes use of 90 percent less platinum. The pure electric portion has a 13.8-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. Drivers can even fiddle with the system’s operation mode – hybrid for normal, automatic selection; F-Cell; Battery and Charge.