Mercedes is revealing at the Tokyo Motor Show its latest research vehicle that can produce enough electricity for several homes

According to Mercedes, the fuel cell used in the new vehicle, apart from providing clean energy for the car, can also serve as a mobile power source with the 66 KW of electric power sufficient to keep “several detached houses supplied with power”.

The Mercedes F600 Hygenius is powered by a zero-emission fuel cell drive with an output of 85KW/115 hp, using only 2.9 litres per 100 km with a range of 400 km.

“This represents a major step towards bringing the fuel cell up to the full production maturity, a goal that we aim to achieve some time between 2012 and 2015,” said Thomas Weber, DaimlerChrysler board member responsible for research and technology.

“By developing the fuel cell, we are creating a new basis for supplying energy in tomorrow’s vehicles, which will make a further lasting improvement to their environmental capability,” he added.

The fuel cell in the Hygenius is about 40 percent more compact than in previous models and is notable for its good cold-start characteristics.

It has new innovations such as redesigned fuel stacks, an electric turbocharger and a new humidification and dehumidification system, according to Professor Herbert Kohler, director of vehicle body and driver research at DaimlerChrysler.

Fuel cells use the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to generate electrical power in a process that produces no emission of pollutants.

The fuel cell drive alone generates a constant power output of 60KW/82 hp and a torque of 250 Newton metres. Surplus energy is stored in a lithium-ion battery. An electric motor doubles as a generator that charges the battery during vehicle braking by recuperating drive energy.

In addition, Mercedes has developed a new seat system with a two-piece backrest cushion that follows the upper body movements and minimises the strain on the intervertebral discs. Cameras integrated into the housings of the exterior mirrors monitor the side and rear of the Hygenius.

More here.