Right now, the EV revolution is (almost) upon us – and it seems the current state of the world economy has tipped the balance in favor of battery-powered vehicles rather than hydrogen-powered fuel cell EVs.
Since the onset of the modern EV revolution, most early adopters were divided between the optimal choice for a zero-emissions powertrain. Some, like Tesla’s Elon Musk, always opined that battery power will one day rule the world. Others, like Toyota’s former boss Akio Toyoda, hoped a hydrogen-based society would exist.
Well, years have passed, and EVs are not yet fully mainstream, with a few exceptions, the biggest being Tesla’s Model Y crossover SUV that currently rules the entire European market and the American EV sector. However, the adoption of fuel cell cars is light years behind, despite the best efforts from carmakers like Toyota, Hyundai, and even BMW.
The world economy’s current state has spilled an impending doom for the stillborn hydrogen-based society as little progress has been made toward increasing the production of available hydrogen fuel. Plus, amid scrapped projects, the few people who were confident (or foolish) enough to get a fuel cell car now face incredible adversity because refueling prices are simply going through the roof.
Anyway, that doesn’t mean we should just write off hydrogen-powered fuel cell solutions as a footnote in the automotive industry. Or, at least, we have the luxury of dreaming of cool FCEV models with help from the imaginative realm of digital car content creators. More precisely, Francesco Artusato, a 3D digital vehicle creator known as franart_design on social media, has a very enticing proposal for a little Mercedes coupe.
Dubbed the Mercedes-Benz Vision HFC (hydrogen fuel cell), this design project just hit me in the heart from the moment I laid my eyes on it. Frankly, because the author doesn’t share any details about it, we can imagine whatever we like about it. For me, personally, it resonates with precisely the way I would envision an Old Continent automaker doing their take on the American muscle car trope – with an EV twist.
As such, I see in it all the makings of a great European muscle car that exudes toughness and robustness on a much more compact format than its cousins from across the big pond (aka the Atlantic Ocean). It’s also something that would easily resonate with the new generation of customers who were born with smartphones by their side – the concept’s skin-like body texture immediately reminded me of the mobile phone industry’s tendency to adopt vegan leather smartphones as their latest trend.
Meanwhile, the minimalist yet subtly rugged styling is what should Mercedes use for its EQ products, not egg-shaped designs for the sake of aerodynamics like with the EQE and EQS sedans, for example. Frankly, I could go on and on about what makes this concept great, including the fact that the rear shows classic yet modern GT proportions while the color-changing wheels are a nice touch or how the front reminds me of a pug dog’s mug combined with G-Class (or EQG, to be more precise) touches.
However, there is one thing I don’t want for the Mercedes-Benz Vision HFC – and that would be a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain. Unless a miracle happens, hydrogen-based power seems dead in the water – pun intended, sadly.