To All Hydrogen Enthusiasts,
The year 2011 was an especially exciting one for researchers and developers working on the future technology of Mercedes Benz. After driving more than 35,000 km around the world with three of our series production B-class F-Cell vehicles without encountering any major technical issues, we knew that the technology is ready. No matter where the vehicles drove, people were curious, asked questions, took test drives and became convinced that this is the future of carbon free mobility. Even the most cautious folks (Kazakhstan fire fighters) were eventually won over and recognized that hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles are not only easy and fun to drive, but mature, reliable and definitely safe.
After 125 days, 14 countries and 4 continents, it is now time to prepare the markets for the vehicles. What needs to be done? Well, we sure didn’t find many refueling stations along the way. Had it not been for our partner Linde who supported us with mobile refueling stations during the tour, theWorld Drivewould have ended after just 400 km inFrance. It won’t be necessary to build stations in 14 countries all at once, but some initial concerted efforts are required. Because of our strong belief in this technology and excellent working relationship with our long term partner Linde, we have decided to invest in 20 new stations inGermanytogether with them. The first stations will be built this year and the last one no later than 2014, adding up to a total of approximately 50 stations. As a result,Germanywill have an initial basic coverage in 2014, no coincidence since we’ll be bringing the next generation F-Cell vehicles into the market very soon. At the same time, a consortium of industrial players (gas, oil, utility and car companies) are planning the rollout of several hundred stations across Germany, ensuring that our customers will have the same convenience as with their gasoline or diesel cars.
TheUnited States, theUnited Kingdom,JapanandScandinaviaare also working hard on similar approaches to prepare the markets.Californiahas even passed a law to regulate the infrastructure build-up of sustainable fuels, the Clean Fuels Outlet. This was a necessary development since the car companies are also bound by regulation to sell a certain number of vehicles.
All these initiatives are showing us it can be done. The chicken and egg dilemma will no longer stand in our way. Our vehicles are ready and other car companies have recently announced market introductions as well. Suppliers will be able to scale up their production and bring down costs even more.
The past 125 years of mobility have been dominated by oil. Will the next 125 years be dominated by hydrogen? We are working hard to make it so!
Hear from Daimler AG at WHEC:
Wednesday, June 6, 2012 – End User Plenary
As hydrogen and fuel cell technologies continue to mature, we can calculate their value propositions for commercial applications. Speakers in this plenary will articulate a few of the many value propositions that exist today, including forklift trucks in warehouses, backup power for telecommunications, hydrogen production from renewable energy for balancing the grid, and fuel cell vehicles.
Dr. Christian Mohrdieck
Director for Fuel Cell and Battery Drive Development