Fuel-cell A-Class tested

22 July 2005


San Jose Mercury News reporter Matt Nauman drove a Mercedes A-Class-based fuel-cell vehicle for five days, and has put his driving diary online. He clocked up just 133 miles in the F-Cell and seems to have spent most of the time with one eye on the digital hydrogen gauge. Refuelling - in a bus depot and not a fair indication of how a normal fuel-stop might work - sounds ever so slightly intimidating:

First, a technician swept the car with a hydrogen sniffer to make sure it wasn't leaking. Then, he and Phelps [a DaimlerChrysler technician] donned flame-resistant smocks and safety glasses. They grounded the car, asked everyone nearby to turn off their cell phones and stand 20 or so feet away. Signs prohibited smoking and warned of hydrogen's flammability.

Oddly, there was no sign of the fire brigade on standby in Honda's handover of its FCX fuel-cell car to an unfeasibly shiny family. Presumably the guys in asbestos suits were just out of shot.

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