By on February 4, 2011

So, what really happened when two of the three hydrogen fuel-cell cars on Mercedes’s F-Cell World Tour ran out of fuel on an early leg? Previously we’d only heard the German perspective on events (not to mention Daimler’s non-telling of the story in the video above), but now TTAC Alum Jonny Lieberman has posted his extended take on the trip over at Motor Trend. Yes, you’ll have to give MT ten page-clicks to read the whole thing, but Lieberman goes into far more detail than any account of the mini PR fiasco yet published. Do give it a look.

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10 Comments on “Motor Trend Tells Its Side Of The Mercedes F-Cell Fiasco Story...”


  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    So wait, let me get this straight.  MB brought foreign journalists over to Germany during their 125th birthday party to test drive cutting edge technology and don’t expect them to drive the speedlimit or total lack thereof?  Seriously?  Is it an inability of German engineers to anticipate that their controlled test track calculations might not translate into the real world?  Honestly, guys, Europe is not exactally flat. 

    • 0 avatar
      rdeiriar

      In defence of Daimler, you can do the “trick”, i.e running out of fuel by driving too fast on any other vehicle as well. From the MT account, the car seems to have a fuel gauge, and they must have known where the rendezvous with the tanker was to take place at. Hmmm…

  • avatar
    Wally Vance

    If you click on the print radio button below the first section, you can read the whole thing on one screen.

  • avatar
    cmoibenlepro

    200 kilometers range?  Not much better than an EV.
    BTW, very funny story! :-)

  • avatar
    tced2

    Speed takes energy.  The mileage at the driven speeds was too low to complete the course.
    The energy density of hydrogen is not good at atmospheric temperature and pressures (hence the high storage pressures).  Where do they obtain the hydrogen?  It’s everywhere attached to other atoms and is expensive to get into pure form (it takes a lot of energy).

    • 0 avatar
      protomech

      Sounds like they’re reforming the hydrogen from natural gas, at least for this demo. The support trucks (diesel-powered) had several bulk tanks of H2 for roadside “refueling”.
       
      In a sense, these fuel-cell vehicles are CNG vehicles (as most EVs are coal-powered vehicles).

  • avatar
    powermatic

    Since I rarely read Motor Trend even when I was reading a lot of motor mags, I was a little concerned, but JL did a nice job–sure, no wing-wangs were squeezed, at least that we know of, but entertaining nonetheless, and frankly drunk-driving a 308 and then writing about it is probably something we won’t see again in our lifetime. Oh, wait-you’ve got Baruth working here don’t you.
    I didn’t note much of a discrepancy between the German and American versions of the trip, so there’s no real controversy there. I did enjoy this quote:
    “…as Fred Smith, CEO of FedEx just wrote about petroleum consumption in Fortune, “We cannot continue down this path…”

    Since the FedEx business model is predicated on extensive use of aircraft to provide those overnight deliveries, and there is currently no real plan to replace fossil fuel power in commercial aircraft, I’ll bet he IS worried about an alternative form of propulsion. Anyway, all in all a good read, thanks for the link.


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