DETROIT - Mercedes-Benz will commence its "F-Cell World Drive" on Jan. 30, showcasing its B-Class F-Cell vehicles and demonstrating the company's fuel-cell technology. The F-Cell World Drive will last 125 days, crossing four continents and the widest variety of climate zones.

At the same time, the automaker will campaign for the development of a global hydrogen filling station network.  

"With this unique circumnavigation of the world we are emphasizing the high level of technical maturity of our electric vehicles with fuel cell. Such an undertaking would not be possible using purely battery-powered electric vehicles," said Thomas Weber, member of the Daimler AG board of management responsible for group research and development of Mercedes-Benz Cars. "Today, as with the invention of the automobile 125 years ago, the issue of a corresponding fueling infrastructure arises. But I am confident that together with all of the parties involved we will find a solution that enables us to fully exploit the tremendous potential of this technology." 

The journey will take the fuel-cell vehicles through 14 countries: from southern Europe, through France, Spain and Portugal, the cars will continue on to North America, where they will drive through both the U.S. as well as Canada. After crossing Australia, the cars will reach the continent of Asia. From China they will then pass through Kazakhstan, Russia and finally northern Europe, until the tour will return to Stuttgart at the beginning of June, where the 125-day round-the-world tour will come to an end. 

At the heart of the B-Class F-Cell is an electric drive system powered by a fuel cell. The fuel cell generates the electrical power on board from a chemical reaction between oxygen and hydrogen. 

The hydrogen supplier for the F-Cell World Drive will be project partner Linde AG, which has sites and subsidiaries located throughout the world. On remote routes, a tank vehicle, which has been specially developed for the tour in cooperation with Linde AG, will be on hand to supply the fuel cell vehicles with the necessary hydrogen.