Fuel cell technology powers prototype Mercedes RV


    Mercedes-Benz is not waiting for existing motorhome manufacturers to get into the race to develop electric-powered RVs. Instead, Mercedes has introduced a prototype motorhome based on a Hymer low-profile coach powered by the latest hydrogen fuel cell technology.

    Mercedes built the motorhome on the Concept Sprinter F-CELL to show the possibilities of fuel cell technology, from long range to zero-local-emissions mobility. The concept motorhome combines hydrogen fuel cell and battery technology in a plug-in hybrid. The interaction of the battery and fuel cell delivers an electric output of approximately 147kW and 350Nm of torque.

    The three tanks in the substructure store 4.5kg of hydrogen giving a range of around 300km (180 miles). If a longer range is required, another tank at the rear of the vehicle can be added, increasing the range to 530km (380 miles).

    Hymer utilized their long history of developing new models in partnership with Mercedes to develop this prototype motorhome, part of a project involving Sprinter and Vito vans to see how they perform in different real-world scenarios using various powertrain options. Battery-electric drive, classic internal combustion engines, and hydrogen fuel cell models are all part of the evaluation program. Mercedes said it represents the next milestone in the electrification of all its models for commercial use.

    We will first see the electric eSprinter join the eVito – which is already on the market – next year. It is not yet clear when the F-CELL Sprinter will come to market. The eSprinter will come with a battery capacity of 55kWh, giving an anticipated range of around 150km (90 miles) with a maximum payload of 900kg.


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    Lets be clear about this technology. Hydrogen is most economically derived from natural gas and electrolysis. “Fracking” is not without environmental controversy even though it’s the newest source for cheap gas. Electrolysis disassembles water into hydrogen and oxygen. Either process requires massive inputs of generated electricity to refine and compress hydrogen. Follow the hydrogen production chain and you must conclude that a fuel cell powered engine only appears pollution free to the consumer. The reality is that hydrocarbon combustion is the raw material required to produce hydrogen for fuel cells. The perception that any energy source can be non polluting is mental masxxxxxxxxx, in my opinion.

    ron spradley

    What we need is fuel cells to replace generators. No noise and the only by-product is drinking water.