A dream come true
It made its first public appearance at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt in 2011: the F125! research vehicle is a dream – a dream come true.
Every inch of the F125! is packed with innovative ideas designed to take the concept of comfortable motoring beyond the year 2025. The F125! is itself a journey through the wonderful world of futuristic lightweight materials, experimental operating concepts, innovative drive technology and a new design idiom.
"All of the material, drive and operating concepts exist already", confirms Prof. Herbert Kohler, responsible for Group Research and New Drive Technologies at Daimler.
"They are being tested today so that they can be implemented on our roads tomorrow", says Kohler. "In the next-but-one generation of the S-Class, whose characteristics can already be seen in the F125! today. The research vehicle combines safe and enduring motoring, precisely how we have come to appreciate it over the decades, with uncompromising sustainability. That's because it does not consume any fossil fuels, and does not emit any harmful exhaust emissions."
The research vehicle has another, even more revolutionary feature: after a company history of 125 years, the vertical Mercedes radiator grille has undergone a radical reinterpretation. In the F125! research vehicle, the traditional grille is replaced by six air vents integrated into the body. They provide sufficient airflow as required, as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class will also be entirely electrically powered in 2025.
What's more, there's no need to worry about heavy batteries, lengthy recharging times and limited operating ranges: the F125! draws its energy from a high-performance on-board hydrogen fuel cell which drives the car and recharges the newly designed, slim-line lithium-sulphur battery located behind the rear seats.
Producing a total of 10 kWh at 350 Wh per kilogram, its capacity is an impressive 100 percent improvement on today's lithium-ion batteries. This is a key factor behind the research vehicle's operating range, previously not considered to be sustainable at this level: using a mere 7.5 kg of hydrogen, the F125! is capable of covering some 1000 kilometres - about as far as a current diesel saloon is just capable of achieving.
A unique driving experience
The 23-inch wheels are each driven by four, axle-mounted electric motors. They accelerate the F125! by generating up to 50 kW of power and 75 Nm of torque at the front, and up to 100 kW and 200 Nm at the rear. In conjunction with the first adaptive air suspension system to be used on an electric vehicle, this provides a unique driving experience, as evidenced by the performance figures - a top speed of 220 km/h and acceleration from zero to 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds.
A care-free form of travel for customers of the future
Another innovative feature is the hydrogen storage system of the F125! Hidden away out of sight of the occupants, it represents and even more spectacular illustration of the future viability of the fuel cell drive. Environmentally-conscious customers of the future can enjoy a care-free form of travel: the research vehicle stores large quantities of hydrogen in the vehicle floor at a pressure of just 30 bar, thus reducing the risk of any potential danger.