Mercedes Rolls Out World's First Hydrogen PHEV (But You Can't Buy One)

Hydrogen Car

The GLC F-Cell will only be available to rent in Germany

Automakers the world over have been experimenting with various kinds of environmentally friendly modes of propulsion – among them hydrogen fuel cells and plug-in hybrids. But Mercedes is the first to combine the two in one vehicle. Shame you won't be able to buy one.

Called the GLC F-Cell, it's based on Benz's compact crossover. But instead of an internal-combustion engine burning gasoline or diesel fuel, it packs both a fuel cell and a plug-in hybrid powertrain. So whichever it's using for power at a given time, it's running on zero emissions whatsoever.

Today Mercedes announced that it has delivered the first examples of the new GLC F-Cell. But they're all going to corporate fleets and government agencies. Further deliveries are planned to take place in the coming months, but here's the kicker: not only will the GLC F-Cell be available only in Germany, private customers will only be able to drive one on a rental basis.

Even then, they'll only be offered in areas that have hydrogen infrastructures in place. Fortunately for locals, there's a number of German cities that do – like Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Munich, and Cologne.

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That's seven cities in all, which matches the number of dealers in Germany that Mercedes will authorize to rent out the GLC F-Cell.

Unfortunately no plans have been announced the expand the program outside of Daimler's home market. Which may be just as well for American drivers, since (as the US Department of Energy records) there are only 40 hydrogen fuel stations in the United States, and 35 of them are in California. The other five, in case you're wondering, are located (one a piece) in Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, and South Carolina. So unless you live near one, the GLC F-Cell would be of no use to you, anyway.

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