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Automobile giant Mercedes-Benz has announced that it will be unveiling its first production-ready hydrogen-powered car at the Frankfurt Motor Show on 12 September.

The new vehicle will be a hydrogen-powered edition of the Mercedes GLC – a midsize SUV. It has been developed with Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation. AFCC is a joint venture between Mercedes’ parent company Daimler, and US manufacturer Ford, and based in Vancouver, Canada.

Reports say that Ford originally planned to unveil its own hydrogen car this year, but instead chose to focus on electric car production.

The plug-in fuel cell model is anticipated to be available in selected markets from 2018.

The standard engine has been replaced by a fuel cell stack which generates electricity using a reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, the first element of which is stored in two carbon-fibre tanks within the GLC’s floor. Each tank each hold up to four kilograms of hydrogen and are pressurised at 700-bar. Remarkably, the tanks can be refilled in under 3 minutes according to AFCC.

In addition to the fuel stack, the Mercedes GLC F-Cell will also include a 9kWh li-ion battery giving an overall range of 500km (310 miles), of which 50km can be achieved on the battery alone.

Daimler claims it is the first time such a battery has been used for autonomous operation in an electric vehicle with a fuel cell.

During its development, Mercedes has drawn on over eleven million miles of testing as well as conducting another 500 individual tests such aerodynamic refinement and crash testing at their facility in Sindelfingen.

The prototypes have consumed around 200 tonnes of hydrogen, emitting around 1800 tonnes of water vapour.