LOS ANGELES -- Mercedes-Benz will begin limited sales of a hydrogen fuel cell variant of its B-class subcompact in 2014, followed by a larger hydrogen-powered vehicle one or two years later.
Sascha Simon, manager of advanced product planning at Mercedes-Benz USA, says the next-generation B-class F-Cell will have more options and an upgraded telematics system when it debuts for the 2015 model year. The F-Cell will be based on the B-class five-door hatchback now sold in Europe.
The fuel cell vehicles will be sold in California, and possibly in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, if a hydrogen refueling infrastructure is set up in time, Simon said.
Since 2010, Mercedes has offered the F-Cells for lease to consumers in the Los Angeles area. Mercedes has delivered 37 F-Cells to customers here and expects to reach 60 by year end as more hydrogen refueling stations open in Los Angeles, Simon said.
One or two years after the launch of the next-generation B-class F-Cell, Mercedes expects to launch a hydrogen-powered vehicle based on an existing Mercedes model. The vehicle will be larger than the C class, but Simon said the company has not decided whether it will be a large sedan or an SUV.
"This third-generation car will not be a unique platform," he said. "It will be one of our cars that you know today. It just will run on hydrogen rather than gasoline."
Simon declined to discuss sales volume or pricing details.