My adventure with the Mercedes Benz F-CELL world drive is now over. I had two days of driving through the US in one of the most technologically advanced cars in the world. Along the way, I met some very kind and friendly people, saw some very beautiful places I never had known about, and drove on some very nice roads.
The Mercedes Benz F-CELL B-Class is an electric automobile that gets its energy from a hydrogen-filled fuel cell instead of a battery. This offers a lot of advantages, perhaps the most important being the refueling time. If you were to refuel at a gas station that offered hydrogen, your car would be ready to drive within just three minutes: three minutes, instead of 12 hours – or even longer – when driving a battery-powered electric car.
The second you turn the key, you realize something is different, as you do not hear an engine start or the car rumble or anything; it just switches on, like an iPad. Another obvious difference you will notice is that, when in motion, the noise level is much lower than in a regular combustion-engine car, which is very comforting. Besides that, the only other difference I experienced, compared with a ‘regular’ car, was that there were no gear changes. The F-CELL B-Class just goes. And boy, does it go! Sure, it is no sports car, but it achieves its maximum torque from the second you step on the gas pedal. Most of the time, we tried to drive as efficiently as we could, and it worked out great, but as a gear-head you need to put the pedal to the metal from time to time, and hey! – it really was a lot of fun, driving those beautiful winding roads in Texas.
I will not go into more technical details, as there are better places for those, and better-educated writers for that topic, but I want to put on record that I would buy a fuel cell car right away if it were on the market in Germany. And I am pretty sure I would go with a Mercedes Benz, as during these two days, not only the engineers but the whole team showed how much they stand behind this technology and how much they want it to succeed. And I am sure it will be only a matter of a few years until either the oil companies or others finally realize the potential of the fuel cell in the automotive industry, and help to build a good hydrogen fueling station infrastructure.
Now, going back to the tour, you know that my two buddies, Alex Kahl and Gonzague Dambricourt, and I drove ‘our’ B-Class from New Orleans via Houston to San Antonio. We could not spend much time in New Orleans, which was a shame, but I have to go back now, so that’s good too!
Most of the tour was spent in Texas, and – I have to be honest with you – Texas wasn’t on my radar for visiting at all. You know how it goes with clichés, and I guess that not only I, but our whole group, had bought them. Now, as this part is over, I am very happy still to be in Texas and to have had the opportunity to visit. What a great State, with wonderful landscapes, great cities and – so far – very friendly people. It’s an area that I’ll definitely have to travel back to at some point when I have more time.
Alex, Gonzague and I had a blast. Spending time with those two is a lot of fun in itself, but then being on a great trip like this just elevates it to another level.
At this point, I want to thank the whole Mercedes Benz team a lot. They took care of us to a degree that I haven’t seen before, and really beyond the call of duty. Normally, you would never find such warmhearted, friendly and caring folk in an event like this.
Tobias, Kristina, Berit, Nina and Rosario, and obviously everyone else from the team: it was a blast to be a part of the F-CELL world drive, and thank you for everything. I won’t soon forget it; especially not the most amazing steak ever! 🙂 (24oz dry aged New York strip FTW!).
Let me know what you think: not only about the photos, but also about the fuel cell technology and the F-CELL B-Class, as I am very intrigued by it.
Have a great day,