Mercedes-Benz F-Cell Roadster (2009)
The F-Cell Roadster Concept is design study of a fuel cell vehicle created by 150 trainees at Mercedes-Benz. It combines innovative technologies and solution with large spoked wheels inspired by the 1886 Benz Car.
Usually concept cars demonstrate something new, unattainable, that is still impossible to sell in large quantities, but it is necessary to announce the intentions. So to speak, the town will be staked.
Mercedes has already pleased everyone with several novelties this year. However, that’s not enough, in the midst of the crisis, the Germans allow themselves such a luxury as a concept that has absolutely no prospects for the future! While the board of directors of the concern is barely making ends meet by selling shares to Arabs, students are given grants, and they fantasize. The result does not meet any standards.
Mercedes F-Cell Roadster is an interweaving of mutually exclusive ideas, somewhat enhanced by ecological ideology. Everything about this device is unusual: from the wheels to the steering. As the students who worked on the project say, they were inspired to create such an unusual vehicle by Gottlieb Daimler’s car, dated 1886. It was one of the first cars with an internal combustion engine, built according to principles similar to the design of horse-drawn carriages: the front carriage turned entirely, passengers and the driver sat high on flat benches, the rear wheels were larger than the front ones.
The wheels of the F-Cell Roadster were borrowed from the 1886 car. That is, indeed, there is such a feeling that they were removed from the same self-propelled crew. It is not possible to explain their presence only for aesthetic purposes. Here is a hypothesis that has not yet been confirmed: it seems that such wheels should have low rolling resistance, which has a positive effect on energy consumption. In addition, if they are made of a light alloy, such a design will reduce unsprung masses, which will have a positive effect on handling.
The fact that controllability was also one of the priority tasks seems to indicate the design of the suspensions – the double parallel arms in front are similar to the suspensions of real racing cars. In addition, the front of the F-Cell clearly resembles the “Formula” fairing, only the huge spoiler is missing.
The boarding formula is strictly two people. Without any “+2”. In theory, it’s also a hint of sportiness. The power plant is an electric motor powered by fuel cells. The technology is promising, so far it is only expensive, but in the near future the appearance of serial models is not excluded.
Control of the retrobold is carried out according to the drive-by-wire principle: there is no direct mechanical connection between the control bodies and the car units. There is no steering wheel with pedals in this exotic device: they were replaced by a joystick located on the central tunnel. Undoubtedly, the reception is interesting.
Now, a few words about the characteristics: the mileage on one hydrogen filling in the F-Cell Roadster is 350 km. Excellent! A light roadster that does not cause any harm to nature is the dream of a Californian! I wouldn’t recommend anyone to go outside on this roadster: the engine power is only 1.2 kW. Hence the “record” dynamism indicators: the maximum speed is as much as 25 km/h. Although Gottlieb Daimler’s car was, of course, even slower. Just for the sake of what, it is asked, was it necessary to weave racing technologies, expensive materials, other conceptual “jewelry” here?
The only thing that can at least somehow console is that there is always a place for the F-Cell Roadster in the Mercedes-Benz museum. And in the future, I would like to believe, the management of Mercedes-Benz will spend money somehow more thoughtfully, and the results of such “pains of creativity” will not cause such disapproving smirks.