This article describes the DaimlerChrysler Necar 4 car, launched in the USA on 17 March 1999. It was announced as the world's first fuel cell vehicle, and is the latest in a long line of Necar (New Electric Car) and Nebus projects aiming to bring proton membrane fuel cell technology to the masses by 2004. Necar 4 is based on the Mercedes A-class, which was not specifically designed for fuel cell use, but was originally planned with the double-skin floor in which the fuel cell system is installed. It has a 55kW fuel cell produced by DBB Fuel Cell Engines. Necar 4 has a top speed of 145kph and a range of 450km. Despite its weight of 1580kg, Necar 4 has good acceleration; its controls and braking are both conventional. Its fuel consumption is equivalent to 0.032l/km (88mpg) in the compressed hydrogen prototype version and 0.036l/km (78mpg) in the methanol version. It seems likely that Necar will be produced in both compressed hydrogen form, to meet zero emissions fleet requirements in the USA, based on centralised refuelling, and methanol for general widespread use. Most experts agree that methanol will be the chosen fuel worldwide, but the technology for using methanol needs more development and dramatic cost reduction.

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  • Authors:
    • CROSSE, J
  • Publication Date: 1999-5


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: p. 34-6
  • Serial:
    • Volume: 24
    • Issue Number: 5
    • Publisher: Institution of Mechanical Engineers
    • ISSN: 0307-6490

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00768622
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Sep 10 1999 12:00AM