Mercedes-Benz F125 drives over 600 miles on hydrogen (photos)
The Mercedes-Benz F125 research vehicle represents how cars will look 15 years from now. Mercedes-Benz maintains its luxury persona in the car, while at the same time designing it for more than 600 miles of emission-free driving.
The Mercedes-Benz F125 is a research vehicle, a distillation of different technologies being developed by the German automaker. Mercedes-Benz says the F125 represents what cars could look like in 15 years, two generations of vehicle development. The F125 is driven by electric motors at each wheel, getting electricity from a fuel cell stack and lithium sulfate battery pack.
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The drive system for the F125 builds on Mercedes-Benz's extensive research into hydrogen fuel cell technology. The car has high strength hydrogen cells integrated into its body shell. These feed a fuel cell stack that converts hydrogen to electricity for the wheel-mounted electric motors. There is also a lithium sulfate battery pack, new technology being researched by Mercedes-Benz, to capture regenerative braking energy. This drive system gives the F125 a range of more than 600 miles.
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The car's name refers to Mercedes-Benz's 125 years of history. The car shows that a zero-emissions vehicle can be a luxury sedan, not a mere subcompact urban vehicle. As such, it shows that Mercedes-Benz can continue to build luxury sedans even as power-train technology changes.
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As with many current concept cars, the F125 uses gullwing doors and no B pillar. Mercedes-Benz says this arrangement is possible due to the very strong body shell and lightweight doors made from carbon fiber composites. The doors open with a hand gesture over an external sensor pad.
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With its seating arrangement, the F125 works as a chauffeured car. The passenger seat folds down and forward, while the right side of the rear lounge seat folds out to provide an ottoman for the passenger. Stretchy fabrics and materials allow the ottoman to fold out while still retaining a connection with the rest of the rear seat.
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The F125 builds on Mercedes-Benz's current adaptive cruise control system to allow near autonomous driving. Using vehicle-to-vehicle communication, it can automatically pass slower traffic. Mercedes-Benz also envisions a thoroughly connected car: at the beginning of a trip, the car might read out or display current news, than switch to a music mode. Toward the end of a trip, it could show the local weather.