Gallery: Mercedes Announces Crazy Hybrid F-Cell Roadster!


In what is clearly an attention-grabbing move, Daimler today has just unveiled the F-CELL Roadster, a wacky-looking vehicle that is a ‘hybrid’ in more ways than one. Literally the roadster is fitted with a 1.2 kW hybrid drive – one that allows the F-CELL to reach a top speed of 15 mph and achieve an operating range of 217 miles. But the roadster is a ‘hybrid’ in a more metaphorical sense as well: drawing design inspiration from a diverse swath of automotive eras. The F-Cell Roadster provocatively merges design elements from the most futuristic Formula One racing cars with the most old-school, turn-of-the-century, original Benz motor car.

The F-Cell Roadstar has the wheels and general aura of the original Benz patent motor car, mixed with a sleek and streamlined fiberglass race-car body and seating. All of which makes for a bizarre-looking but strangely poetic vehicle. Want to know who to blame for this ungodly franken-Benz? Chalk it up to the Daimler AG trainees at the Sindelfingen plant, with more than 150 trainees and dual education system students working for about a year on the overall concept, development, assembly, and completion of the hybrid model. The project involved junior employees from the fields of automotive mechatronics, model-building, electronics, coating technology, manufacturing mechanics, product design, and interior appointments.

“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 Günther Fleig. “I am delighted to see how much initiative and creativity the young people have put into this project.”

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  1. iknowit April 29, 2009 at 5:55 am

    …\”If the object is to showcase the fuel-cell, why not build a more practical and usable vehicle instead of something where there is no place it would work? Is this what they are doing with bailout money?\”….

    The point of this vehicle is not to showcase the fuel cell or even the vehicle itself. The point of the vehicle is to showcase the education that young apprentices are getting at Daimler.

    This is more or less an interdisciplinary school project, in which students and young apprentices learn the basics of car construction and teamwork. Of course the result may not practical, but it works if you don\’t see it as solely as a concept for a car, but as a concept of how to educate about past and future of transportation.

    1) The wheels – It\’s about knowing where you are coming from. They are basically the same as the ones on the first Benz Patent Motorwagen. I\’ll bet they were chosen for that reason alone and not for their great characteristics.

    2) The fuel cell – Think about where you want to go. It\’s an education about alternative propulsion systems.

    3) The fact that it is VERY underpowered. While this thing is really severely underpowered for any practical use it reminds the students about the fact that efficiency should be one of the top priorities in car construction

    4) The fact that Daimler chose to showcase this project like they did shows that they wish to be seen not only as a luxury car-maker but also as ecologically aware and responsible.

  2. autotaxpayer1234 March 30, 2009 at 9:16 am

    As this vehicle doesn’t appear to have turn signals, rear view mirrors, headlights, or a windshield, and a top speed of 15 mph, one could surmise that it’s not built to go on the road. It looks too large to be driven driven on the sidewalk, and too fragile to be driven off road (You’d bend those rims easily). So why is Daimler wasting their time designing a vehicle that isn’t street legal, isn’t practical, and can’t be used in any transportation condition? If the object is to showcase the fuel-cell, why not build a more practical and usable vehicle instead of something where there is no place it would work? Is this what they are doing with bailout money?

    Fail, imho. At 15mph, stick with a bicycle.

  3. davidwayneosedach March 29, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Here in temperate sunny San Diego this hybrid (bicycle) wwill be a big hit. How much does it cost and can it be tweaked to go a litle faster? 15 mph is barely fast enough for downtown traffic.

  4. Charles March 27, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    When will it be available and what will be th cost in US dollars?

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