A Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-Cell vehicle was involved in an accident today, temporarily halting its attempt to circle the globe as part of the automaker’s F-Cell World Drive.
According to the automaker, the trio of F-Cells were driving from Alamty to Balkash, Kazakhstan when a Kazakh driver violated the right-of-way of F-Cell #3 and sideswiped its driver’s side. Technicians have determined that the rear door, fender, rear axle, and suspension sustained damage. They are still deciding if the #3 car will be able to complete the drive after repairs, or if a replacement B-Class-based F-Cell is needs to be dispatched ASAP.
The accident site is approximately 8000 kilometers (about 5,000 miles) away from Stuttgart, Germany, which is the starting and finish line for the drive around the world. Mercedes-Benz commenced the F-Cell World Drive on January 29 to mark and celebrate the 125th anniversary of its invention of the car. For the past two decades, Mercedes-Benz has been developing and testing fuel cell cars, which are powered by hydrogen gas and emit only water.
The F-Cell World Drive is the first of its kind and Mercedes hopes to demonstrate the viability of fuel cell vehicles in real world use. In addition, 70 B-Class F-Cells are currently being tested in California. With the recent opening of a Hydrogen filling station in Torrance, California, the state is considered a case study for future implementation of hydrogen infrastructure, one of the biggest hurdles facing fuel cell cars.
Once the Mercedes-Benz World Drive trek continues with or without car the crippled #3 car, the F-Cells would have driven 20,000 miles after circling the globe via Europe, the United States, Australia, and most Asia.