Mercedes-Benz' new B-class wagon is the latest platform the automaker is using as a test bed for its development of fuel-cell powertrains.
The German luxury automaker rolled out the new fuel-cell vehicle, dubbed the B-class F cell, Tuesday at the Geneva Motor Show.
It said the range of the vehicle has been increased to 250 miles via reductions in fuel consumption and the ability to store more hydrogen fuel on board. The powertrain's electric motor develops 100 kilowatts, or about 75 horsepower.
The B-class wagon traces its roots to Mercedes' small A-class car, which has served as the automaker's platform for fuel cell developments.
The new fuel-cell vehicle was one of many new projects rolled out Tuesday at the Geneva show. Others include: Dodge Caliber concept: A five-door wagon that gives a strong hint at the styling of the replacement for the Dodge Neon compact car. It also gives the automaker a chance to test European consumer's reaction to the aggressive, sporty look of the Dodge brand -- which may be headed to Europe in the near future.
Mazda MX-5 Miata: The third-generation of the Mazda's classic roadster is set to hit the streets later this year. The new Miata is wider by 1.6 inches and has a 2.6-inch longer wheelbase -- which translates into more interior room -- yet overall length grows by only 0.8 inches and the curb weight has increased only 22 pounds, Mazda says. Gone is the noticeable narrowing of the body between the front and rear wheels. A new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is under the hood, replacing a 1.8-liter in the U.S. market, and will make about 160 horsepower. European buyers will have the option of a 1.8-liter engine.
Ford SAV concept: Ford offers its take on stylish design for what European consumers consider minivans (but qualify as small wagons in the U.S. market.) Ford says such a vehicle would slot between the Mondeo sedan and Galaxy van in its European lineup. The SAV concept has three rows of seats. The rear seats can be moved remotely, with the center seat sliding back and the outboard seats moving inward. More important, Ford says, is the styling of the SAV, which signals a new direction for Ford. "Our future design language will communicate (strength.) You could call it driving dynamics made visible," said Martin Smith, Ford of Europe's executive director of design.
Cadillac BLS: While Cadillac's CTS ranks as a small car in the United States, it's closer to mid-sized in European markets. So Cadillac hopes to broaden its appeal on the Continent with the BLS sedan, which is narrower than the CTS. The Geneva car is billed as a preview, with the production version set to bow at the Frankfurt show this fall. The BLS shares its body shell and front doors with the Saab 9-3 and be built at the Saab factory in Trollhattan, Sweden. The all-turbocharged engine lineup ranges from a 1.9-liter diesel through a pair of 2.0-liter gasoline inline-fours and a 2.8-liter V-6.
BMW 3 series After redesigns of its 7-series and 5-series sedans that have met with mixed reaction by critics, BWM's makeover of its high-volume 3-series line is seen as being a bit more conservative. The new cars gain 1.4 inches in wheelbase, 2.2 inches in overall length and 3.0 inches in width. A good portion of the extra room has been allocated to the rear seat area. The model change also marks the arrival of a new generation of inline six-cylinder engines, which BMW calls the N52 family. The engines offer more power and torque, yet weigh less and are more fuel efficient, than their predecessors.
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