Using three neon green B-Class F-Cell vehicles, Mercedes-Benz began the U.S. leg of the F-Cell World Drive from Fort Lauderdale on February 25, 2011. The trio of hydrogen-powered cars will proceed to New Orleans, Louisiana and on to Seattle, stopping at several cities in between. The North American leg will cover 4,660 miles and Linde will supply the fuel these cars need for their world drive. At Seattle, the trio of hydrogen cars will be loaded onto a plane for transport to Australia. Part of the U.S. leg will show the gaps in the country’s hydrogen infrastructure because the hydrogen cars will need to be refuelled 35 times as the convoy moves through the continent. Only once will the public be able to view how the B-Class F-Cell is refueled, and that will be in Torrance, Los Angeles.
The F-Cells will also participate in local events in San Francisco, Sacramento, Salem and Vancouver, providing the opportunity for interaction with local media, visitors and residents on the subject of fuel cell technology. While the U.S. leg will take three weeks, the world drive is planned to last around 4 months, passing 14 countries and four continents in the process. To circumnavigate the globe, the hydrogen cars will need to cover a distance of around 30,000 kilometers. By the end of the event, Mercedes hopes to have demonstrated that hydrogen technology is mature enough for everyday use. At the same time, Mercedes-Benz hopes to highlight the fact that a comprehensive hydrogen infrastructure is yet to be put in place.