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School project: F-Cell Roadster

By Samantha Stevens, 26 Mar 2009 News

School project: F-Cell Roadster

Benz students build a fuel cell roadster with an old-school bent.

This is one helluva homework assignment.

Meet the F-Cell Roadster, a fuel cell concept that took more than 150 trainees at the Daimler AG Sindelfingen Mercedes-Benz plant over a year to design and build.

Modelled on the first Merc, the Karl Benz Patent Motorwagen, the 'training exercise' F-Cell features an alternative fuel cell powerplant where the old one-cylinder pumper used to be.

The cell claims 1.2kW will get you a top speed of 25km/h, and a range of about 350 kilometres.

Add scissor doors, leather bucket seats and a modern fly-by-wire take on the Motorwagen's joystick steering wheel, and you have a very cool take on the sometimes boring topic of saving fuel.

Fantastic stuff.


Young people unite high tech and tradition
Alternative drive systems as a training topic

In a hitherto unique project bridging various fields of profession, the trainees of Daimler AG at the Sindelfingen Mercedes-Benz plant have built a Roadster with fuel cell drive. For about a year, more than 150 trainees and dual education system students worked on the overall concept, development, assembly, and completion of the F-CELL Roadster. This project involved junior employees from the fields of automotive mechatronics, model-building, electronics, coating technology, manufacturing mechanics, product design, and interior appointments. The prime objective of the project was to integrate the topic of alternative drive systems into training with hands-on experience.

"This project impressively demonstrates that the topic of sustainable mobility has become an integral part of our vocational training," said Human Resources Board member and Labor Relations Manager G&#252nther Fleig. "I am delighted to see how much initiative and creativity the young people have put into this project."

Tradition meets the future

The F-CELL Roadster uniquely combines state-of-the-art technologies with the history of vehicle construction. As an allusion to the Benz Patent Motor Car from 1886, the vehicle is fitted with large spoked wheels. Moreover, the F-CELL Roadster incorporates stylistic elements from diverse eras of automotive history, such as the carbon-fiber bucket seats with hand-stitched leather covers and the distinctively styled fiberglass front section, based on the component from the Formula One racing bolides.

The F-CELL Roadster is controlled with drive-by-wire technology, and a joystick takes the place of a conventional steering wheel. The vehicle is powered by the emission-free fuel cell system located at the rear. With a power rating of 1.2 kW the F-CELL Roadster reaches a top speed of 25 km/h and has an operating range of up to 350 km.