Mercedes-Benz GLC F-CELL: Special hybrid with fuel cell

Sep 14, 2019

The Mercedes-Benz GLC F-CELL (weighted hydrogen consumption: 0.91 kg/100 km, weighted CO2 emissions: 0 g/km, weighted power consumption: 18 kWh/100 km)[1] is a very special plug-in hybrid, as it operates on innovative fuel cell and battery technology for the first time: apart from electricity, it also runs on pure hydrogen. Intelligent interplay between battery and fuel cell, long range and short refuelling times make the GLC F-CELL a vehicle of high everyday practicality and also suitable for short and long-distance motoring. With 4.4 kg of hydrogen on board, the SUV generates enough energy for an NEDC range of up to 400 km1 in hybrid mode. The large lithium-ion battery delivers up to 50 km of range according to NEDC. An output of 160 kW guarantees both dynamic performance and locally emission-free driving pleasure.

The GLC F-CELL represents an important step by Mercedes-Benz in the development of fuel cell technology. It features a totally new fuel cell system which is so compact that the entire system can be housed in the engine compartment for the first time and installed at the same mounting points as a conventional engine. In addition, the use of platinum in the fuel cell has been reduced by 90 percent in comparison to the predecessor vehicle. Consequently we protect resources and cut system costs without having to deal with performance deficits. Two carbon-fibre-encased tanks built into the vehicle floor hold 4.4 kg of hydrogen. Thanks to globally standardised
700-bar tank technology, the supply of hydrogen can be replenished within just three minutes - as quickly as is customary when refuelling a combustion-engined car. With a hydrogen consumption of around 1 kg/100 km, the GLC F-CELL achieves around 400 hydrogen-based kilometres in the NEDC cycle; in hybrid mode it additionally delivers up to 50 km on a fully charged battery.

The lithium-ion battery has a gross capacity of 13.5 kWh and additionally serves as an energy source for the electric motor. Plug-in technology makes it easy to charge via the 7.4 kW onboard charger at a standard household socket, a wallbox or a public charging station. Just like the drive motor, an asynchronous motor with an output of 160 kW (217 hp) and a torque of 375 Nm, the powerful storage battery is space-savingly installed in the rear of the SUV.

[1] The figures for hydrogen consumption, power consumption and CO2 emissions were established using the prescribed measuring method acc. to Directive (EC) No. 692/2008.

Coordinated: operating strategy with a unique variety of combinations

The innovative plug-in fuel cell drive combines the advantages of both zero-emission drive technologies and, thanks to its intelligent operating strategy, continuously optimises the use of both energy sources in line with the current operating situation. This is also influenced by the selected drive program: ECO, COMFORT or SPORT.

The GLC F-CELL has four operating modes:

Hybrid: the vehicle draws power from both energy sources. Power peaks are handled by the battery, while the fuel cell runs in the optimum efficiency range.

F-CELL: the state of charge of the high-voltage battery is kept constant by the energy from the fuel cell. Only hydrogen is consumed. This mode is ideal for steady cruising over long distances. 

BATTERY: the GLC F-CELL runs all-electrically and is powered by the high-voltage battery. The fuel cell system is not in operation. This is the ideal mode for short distances.

CHARGE: charging the high-voltage battery has priority, for example in order to recharge the battery for the maximum overall range prior to refuelling with hydrogen or to create power reserves.

In all operating modes, the system features an energy recovery function, which makes it possible to recover energy during braking or coasting and to store it in the battery.

The battery and all components containing hydrogen are governed by particularly stringent safety standards typical of Mercedes. Alongside safety in the event of a crash, all Mercedes-Benz vehicles undergo additional component tests at system level that go far beyond the usual tests. The drive components and hydrogen tanks of the GLC
F-CELL are space-savingly and safely housed in the engine compartment as well as under the floor.

Self-assured: with the DNA of a genuine Mercedes

Despite the extraordinary powertrain concept, the GLC F-CELL boasts the everyday practicality and comfort customers have come to expect from a Mercedes‑Benz. Even the luggage compartment remains unchanged, with the exception of a minimal step, and the rear seats are only slightly higher positioned in order to make space for the hydrogen tanks. The climate comfort in the GLC F-CELL is on a par with conventional vehicles, and the pre-entry climate control based on mains charging current is an intelligent way of safeguarding the vehicle's range. At cooler temperatures, the vehicle will make energy-efficient use of the waste heat from the fuel cell in order to optimise the energy balance of the vehicle.

Remote retrieval of vehicle status via Mercedes me provides a wealth of information: current hydrogen tank level and current battery charging status as well as current range, mileage covered, driving time and consumption since the last start or since the last trip odometer reset.

Marketing focus on H2 cities

Vehicles have been handed over to selected customers since the end of October 2018. The focus above all is on major cities which are already comparatively well equipped with hydrogen filling stations: Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich, Cologne and Düsseldorf. The GLC F-CELL, which features an excellent scope of equipment as standard, will be available solely in the form of a full-service rental model. This will include all maintenance and possible repairs together with a comprehensive warranty package covering the entire rental period. A market launch in Japan is also planned.

The data at a glance



Electric motor rated output (kW)


Electric motor rated torque (Nm)


Fuel cell


H2 tank capacity (kg) (usable for SAE J2601, 2014 or more recent)


Acceleration 0-100 km/h (s)


Top speed (km/h)[2]


CO2 emissions, weighted (g/km)[3]


Total battery capacity (kWh)


Weighted power consumption (kWh/100 km)3


Weighted hydrogen consumption in Hybrid mode (kg/100 km)3


E-driving range NEDC (km)3

427 (H2)
51 (battery)

WLTP electric range (km)

336 (H2)
41 (battery)

[2] Electronically governed 
[3] The figures for hydrogen consumption, power consumption and CO2 emissions were established using the prescribed measuring method acc. to Directive (EC) No. 692/2008.