The Mercedes-Benz contribution to the green car spotlight at the Los Angeles Auto Show this year is word that the German automaker will be making available in the United States a limited number of its new B-Class F-CELL fuel cell powered vehicles. And when we mean limited, we do mean limited – the plans are for “selected customers” to get the first vehicles before year’s end, with a total of around 70 of these environmentally friendly cars being made available on a rental basis in California by 2012.

Mercedes said the B-Class F-CELL vehicle will be the first fuel cell powered electric car produced under series production conditions in the USA. It has been certificated by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and CARB (California Air Resources Board) as being zero emissions. Driving range is said to be around 400 kilometres with the hydrogen tanks full, which can be refilled in under three minutes once empty. Fuel consumption of the 100 kW/136 hp electric motor, with its torque of 290 Nm, is 54 MPG, which is according to the US test cycle FTP combined EPA-Label (Federal Test Procedure).

In terms of who the vehicle is going to, Mercedes said, it will be “a representative customer group consisting of fleet operators, public institutions, public figures and private customers. The primary aim is to gain further experience in day-to-day operation which can then be incorporated into succeeding model series. The full-service rental rate is 849 US Dollars excl. tax, with a contractual duration of up to 36 months.”

Mercedes added as well that this vehicle, designed as a compact family car with full day-to-day suitability, consumes the diesel equivalent of only 3.3 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres in the NEDC (New European Driving Cycle).

Source: EarthTechling