When the radical Mercedes-Benz F-125! hit the stage at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show it was (and still is) a non-working concept. The zero-emissions F125! is great, in theory, with lithium-sulphur batteries, controls via "touch, speech and hand gestures," semi-autonomous driving, three-dimensional projector-beam displays and a 1,000-kilometer range. In reality, the F125! is, well, a novel concept with massive gullwing doors.
But word is the F125! previews the technology that may eventually be employed in the 2025-ish Mercedes-Benz S-Class. According to Automotive News, M-B has concluded that electric-drive vehicles will be a big part of its future lineup. Thomas Weber, head of research and development at Daimler AG, told AN that
If zero emission mobility will be necessary, and that's what we believe, it's clear we have to change to electric mobility.
But today's electric vehicles wouldn't satisfy S-class buyers, says Weber. Most S-Class owners expect a zero-emissions vehicle to have cruising range of at least 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) and thrust comparable today's diesel-fueled luxury sedans.
To satisfy those buyers, Weber says the obvious choice is a plug-in fuel cell vehicle. That's where the F125!'s technology comes in. M-B developed the F125! as a plug-in hybrid to reproduce the driving characteristics of today's S-Class. Weber says where a fuel cell vehicle needs approximately ten seconds to fire up, a plug-in fuel cell hybrid operates almost exactly the same as today's luxo-barges. Will we ever see a plug-in fuel cell S-Class? Mercedes-Benz sure seems to hint that we will.