“We have to make our zero emissions vehicles fascinating and beautiful,” said Mercedes-Benz’ research and development boss, Dr. Thomas Weber at the Geneva Motor Show 2009. This year Mercedes therefor will spend a chunk of his 8 billion euro budget doing just that. Weber is convinced that for him it will be money well spent and that companies that do so will not only be more likely to survive but will emerge from the financial crisis with added strength. He will be spending money on developing high technology diesel and petrol engines, hybrids and, as part of the company’s Concept BlueZERO programme, zero emissions electric vehicles – including fuel cells. This year, the new generation Mercedes B-class will be revealed and a small batch will be fuel cell powered. “We have changed the timeline for their introduction from 2010-11 to 2009,” said Weber. “This shows our clear commitment to roll out this technology around the globe.” Weber reckons that an effective network of hydrogen filling stations could be built in Germany for about 1.7bn euros: “A small amount compared to the money the banking community has burned in the last few months!” he added.