Going Green Car Concept In the Mercedes Benz F800
Mercedes-Benz, like every person else on the world, is testing with plug-in hybrids. But it’s still stacking heavily on hydrogen. Now it’s merged the two in a head-turning high-end “multi-drive” concept car that can run on batteries or a fuel cell.
The F 800 Style assembles upon the technology emphasizing the S 400 Hybrid and the B-Class F-Cell and wraps it in seriously seductive bodywork. This baby has some go to back up the show, too, presented you stick with the 409-horsepower plug-in hybrid edition. Decide the hydrogen fuel cell model and you’re limited to 136 horsepower, which is illegally low in a luxury sedan. At least you can like its shocking good appears as it sneaks by.
It’s all academic, of course, because the F800 is a “research vehicle” — everyone else calls it a concept car — slated to appear next month at the Geneva Motor Show. The technology may be pie-in-the-sky at the moment, but the styling hints at a new model we could see in 2013.
We’re hoping that front-end treatment makes it into showrooms. It looks mean.
As we said, Mercedes already has a $100K plug-in hybrid on the road and it plans to build a limited number of subcompact fuel cell vehicles next year. But it wanted to bring hyper-efficient drivetrains to the luxo-barge class, so it had the engineers whip up the F 800. Perhaps it was worried about all those rumors of an electric Rolls Royce.
“We are dedicated to reconciling our responsibility for the environment with practical customer utility in a fascinating vehicle,” Dr. Thomas Weber, the Daimler board member in charge of R&D, said in a statement. “The new F 800 Style research vehicle combines this committment [sic] to providing the leading innovative drive concepts with our traditional Mercedes strengths in the areas of design, safety, comfort and outstanding performance.”
About that performance…
The F 800 can be fitted with either a plug-in hybrid drivetrain or a fuel cell drivetrain. The plug-in is definitely the meaner of the two, combining a 300 horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine with an 80 kilowatt (109 horsepower) electric motor. Stomp on it and the car will do zero to 62 mph in a very respectable 4.8 seconds, on par with the Porsche Panamera 4S. It’ll top out at 155 mph under internal combustion and about half that when relying on the 10 kilowatt lithium-ion battery for power.
The car will run 18 miles on electricity alone, giving it four miles more than the forthcoming Toyota Prius plug-in. Drain the battery and you’ll get 81 mpg tooling around on internal combustion.
And then there’s the hydrogen fuel cell edition.
The electric motor fabricates 100 kilowatts (about 136 horsepower) and 184 pound-feet of torque. That’s less power than a 2010 Honda Civic and less torque than a 2010 Ford Taurus. But that’s what goes on when you catch a hydrogen drivetrain aimed for the itty-bitty B-Class F Cell and stuff it into a car that’s roughly 16 feet long. The consequence is you’ll need 11 seconds to hit 62 mph. Top speed is limited to 111 mph.
Mercedes says the fuel cell system can be adapted for different vehicles, so if we ever see hydrogen cars adopted on a large scale, you can bet the Germans will design one that can make a car like the F 800 get up and go. Mercedes bolted the fuel cell (no specs given) up front and the four hydrogen storage tanks in the transmission tunnel and under the rear seat. The motor is out back, driving the rear wheels. The car consumes about a pound of hydrogen every 62 miles (specifically, 0.9 kilos per 100 km). It has a claimed range of 600 kilometers (372 miles).
The car’s styling continues the aggressive, futuristic look we saw with the BlueZero concepts Mercedes showed off last year. It is 15.54 feet long, 6.3 feet wide and has a wheelbase of 9.5 feet. Those dimensions almost exactly mirror those of the C 300 and are said to be similar to those of the C-Class coupe expected next year, according to the scribes at Britain’s Autocar.
The look of the F 800 was heavily dictated by Gorden Wagener, the company’s new design boss, who has brought a decidedly modern look to Benz with cars like the Concept Fascination unveiled at last year’s Paris auto show. Autocar talked to an undisclosed Mercedes source who said the F 800 hints strongly at the styling of a new car that would be a baby brother to the CLS super-luxe sedan. Such a car could see production in 2013. The source tells Autocar that apart from tossing out the concept’s cool sliding rear doors and making the interior a little less futuristic, the car we’ll see in showrooms will look a lot like the F 800.
“There will be some alterations to satisfy crash regulations and the like, but the character will remain much the same,” the source told Autocar. “You will instantly recognize it again, even though we’ll have to wait a few years until it finds its way into showrooms.”
Sweet. Can we get it with the plug-in drivetrain?
Sliding doors, garish wheels and high-tech drivetrains aside, the design of the F 800 Style hints strongly at a new model we could see in 2013.
The F 800 Style concept can be outfitted with either a hydrogen fuel cell or plug-in hybrid drivetrain. Here’s the layout of the fuel cell system. Yes, that is kind of tiny. Download the full-size image here
And here it is with the plug-in hybrid drivetrain. Download the full-size image here (.jpg) if you don’t have a magnifying glass.