Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz is killing its program to develop passenger cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells.
The company has been working on fuel-cell vehicles for more than 30 years — chasing the dream of a zero-emissions car that has a long driving range, three-minute fill-ups, and emits only water vapor. In the end, the company conceded that building hydrogen cars was too costly, about double the expense of an equivalent battery-electric vehicle.
Mercedes-Benz will wind down production of GLC F-Cell, its only current fuel-cell model. The GLC-F-Cell was developed in a 2013 collaboration with Ford and Nissan.
The idea of the collaboration was to kickstart the production of fuel-cell cars and hydrogen infrastructure. Mercedes-Benz was the only carmaker of the three partners to produce a vehicle in the program.
Mercedes-Benz only made a few hundred examples of the GLC F-Cell because manufacturing costs for the model were so high. The car was used for business promotions but was never offered for sale to the public.
Daimler research boss Markus Schäfer in January said:
Fuel cells work great. It’s just a cost issue, and it’s all about scaling. We need volume.