DaimlerChrysler has handed over an F-Cell to The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD).

The F-Cell is the first fuel cell vehicle DaimlerChrysler has delivered to a customer in California, as part of its promise to put 100 fuel cell vehicles on the road in 2004, and the handover was accompanied by the opening of SCAQMD's hydrogen fuelling station at Diamond Bar, east of Los Angeles.

This programme will enable DaimlerChrysler and SCAQMD to gain considerable operational experience with a fuel cell vehicle and a hydrogen refuelling station. By operating in California, the automaker will receive valuable feedback on different variables that may affect future vehicle design. The station itself bears the commitment of SCAQMD's efforts to build a much needed hydrogen infrastructure.

The F-Cell is based on a Mercedes A-Class, a model never sold in the US. The entire fuel cell system is housed in the floor, leaving full use of the passenger and cargo spaces. It has a range of about 100 miles and a top speed of about 85 mph. SCAQMD will use the vehicle in normal everyday driving for which the F-Cell is well suited. Bumper to bumper traffic and in-town stop and go driving will be a beneficial test environment.

DaimlerChrysler has sixty F-Cells operated by customers in Europe, the United States, Japan and Singapore.