Not too long ago a momentous event took place in California, but most of the mainstream media completely missed it. For the first time ever, Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-Cell owners took their hydrogen-powered vehicles outside of Southern California. That section of the state has been known in the past as one of the few places on Earth were anyone can fill up with hydrogen at public stations, but times are changing.
The group ventured from the Los Angeles area all the way to San Francisco in the northern portion of the state. Such a road trip was made possible by a new hydrogen fueling station opening up in Coalinga, a city in Fresno County that’s situated 194 miles from San Francisco and about 202 miles from Los Angeles. That’s a perfect location, considering that Mercedes-Benz says the B-Class F-Cell has a range of about 250 miles.
This new adventure is helping to change attitudes about fuel cell vehicle technology, a development many electric car advocates have loudly denounced. While it certainly didn’t generate the media flurry that darling Tesla enjoys with big advancements, it marks an important step toward helping hydrogen replace gasoline and diesel.
A total of three Mercedes owners made the trip, stopping at fueling stations in Burbank, Coalinga, West Sacramento and Emeryville. They racked up almost 1,000 driving miles in three days on the road. Also along for the journey was a team of Mercedes-Benz research and development employees, to carefully study how the vehicles performed. It provided a unique real-world example of a fuel cell road trip, something that Mercedes-Benz and other automakers becomes a regular thing in the near future.
No doubt, the recent Dieselgate scandal with Volkswagen is helping to spur automakers forward with hydrogen fuel cell technology. Governments, the media and in general members of the public have openly questioned if other diesel-powered vehicles are actually emitting illegal levels of pollutants. Mercedes-Benz, like other European automakers, has its fair share of diesel vehicles on the road today.