Friday, 20 July, 2018

Mercedes-Benz Concept EQA small electric hatchback debuts in Frankfurt

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Nellie Chapman | 12 September, 2017, 14:57

Mercedes is showing off a pre-production version of the GLC F-Cell at the IAA International Motor Show in Frankfurt.

The new model is really an upgraded version of Daimler's B-Class F-Cell, which has been on the market since 2010.

While that delivers 30 miles of pure BEV driving on the NEDC test, the rest of the GLC F-Cell's range comes directly from its hydrogen fuel cell acting as an on-board power station.

The motors on either axle give the EQA all-wheel drive, with the ability to vary torque distribution front to rear for both better traction and most efficient use of battery energy.

"This is made possible by the compact construction of our fuel-cell system". It's so much smaller that instead of forcing a complete re-engineering job on the underbody to house the tanks, the entire system is now housed inside the standard GLC engine bay.

Power for the second EQ concept auto hails from a developmental driveline being readied for a range of EQ models, and uses two electric motors - one mounted up front underneath the bonnet and the other integrated within the rear axle assembly. The vehicle also has a hybrid mode that allows the use of the battery and fuel cell at the same time. Any U.S. EPA rating would likely fall at 200 miles or more. Acknowledging that finding hydrogen isn't always easy for city dwellers, it will recharge its lithium-ion battery in about 1.5 hours from a 7.2-kW on-board charger. We'd expect the GLC F-Cell to be sold only in California on its USA launch, which is now scheduled for the end 0f 2019. Like the conventionally powered GLC, this family-friendly SUV of high everyday practicality will be produced in Bremen.

Mercedes-Benz claims that Concept EQA offers a range up to 250 miles, but this all depends on the battery pack that is installed.

According to the German automaker, the lithium-ion battery with pouch cells being used in the concept is supplied by Daimler subsidiary Deutsche Accumotive.

A dedicated F-Cell mode keeps the battery's charge high and runs the vehicle on its fuel cell nearly entirely, while the Battery mode does the opposite and runs as a pure BEV. Aside from that, it aims to be handled like a regular vehicle, including offering three different drive programs ECO, COMFORT and SPORT.

The SUV's cabin is largely untouched, though it has a step-up in the luggage area that isn't there on the internal-combustion models and the rear seat is slightly higher so it can swallow the second hydrogen tank. Specifically styled bumpers, with an enlarged air inlet at the front, as well as aerodynamically optimised 20-inch wheels are the hallmarks of the vehicles on show at Frankfurt.