This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

October 09, 2002

DaimlerChrysler to Launch Fuel-Cell-Powered Mercedes-Benzes in 2003

The luxury car market took a leap ahead in technology on October 8th, as DaimlerChrysler announced plans to deploy 60 fuel-cell-powered Mercedes-Benz A-Class models in the United States, Europe, Japan, and Singapore next year. The cars will be tested in fleets through cooperative ventures with companies. DaimlerChrysler will also supply 30 fuel-cell-powered city buses to public transport companies in ten major European cities in 2003. See the DaimlerChrysler "Daily News" for October 8th.

Ballard Power Systems will provide its latest-generation 85-kilowatt fuel-cell engines for the Mercedes-Benzes. Ballard claims the new unit achieves a 60 percent improvement in power density over its previous model. Ballard fuel cells are also powering the DaimlerChrysler buses. See the Ballard press release (PDF 46 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.

DaimlerChrysler had previously planned to launch the fuel-cell buses this year, although the company didn't expect to launch fuel-cell cars until 2004. See the June 21, 2000, edition of EREN Network News.

The company appears to be lagging behind Honda Motor Company, which will begin making production versions of its fuel-cell Honda FCX before the end of the year. American Honda Motor Company, Inc. announced on Monday that the City of Los Angeles will be its first U.S. customer for the vehicles, receiving five by year-end. See the Honda press release.

Other car companies are also entering the fuel cell race: Fiat, an Italian automaker, recently demonstrated a hydrogen-powered car called the Seicento Elettra H2 and has ordered nine fuel-cell stacks from Nuvera Fuel Cells, Inc. of Cambridge, Massachusetts. See the Nuvera press release (PDF 90 KB).

Meanwhile, DOE's FreedomCAR program is moving forward. A new "FreedomCAR Partnership Plan" provides goals, objectives, and milestones for the program, including specific technical goals for fuel cell performance, electricity storage, vehicle weight reduction, and hydrogen infrastructure and storage, all to be achieved by 2010. See the plan (PDF 145 KB).