In an interview at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mercedes-Benz R&D chief Thomas Weber said the car company is on track to release its first production of a hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicle in 2017.

Against claims that Mercedes had lost the lead that it once had on the development of a hydrogen car, Weber said the new vehicle will be a version of the GLC SUV that will be powered by the latest technology in hydrogen fuel cells.

"We are in the middle of the car's roll-out phase right now," said Weber, adding that the hardware that is required to be able to produce the electric power using hydrogen has seen a significant size reduction, which will be seen in the upcoming hydrogen-powered GLC.

Last year, Weber said it will take about 3 minutes to refuel the tanks of the hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicle, and the new model will be offered to potential customers within selected markets though outright purchase or with a monthly lease.

In addition to the hydrogen fuel cell-powered GLC, Weber confirmed that engineers of Daimler were well along in the development of another alternative energy car in the form of an all-electric vehicle.

Weber, however, declined to state which model in the Mercedes-Benz lineup will serve as the basis for the electric car or when the vehicle is expected to be released into the market. Rumors, however, state that the electric vehicle is being groomed as a competitor to the Tesla Model S and may be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2017 before hitting showrooms in 2018.

Weber confirmed that the car will feature a range of 250 miles to 300 miles and will be the first one to feature modular components which could be used by both electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles across the group.

Hydrogen power is seemingly rising in popularity among carmakers, with Audi last week unveiling the Audi H-Tron Quattro concept.

"H," of course, stands for hydrogen, and the H-Tron Quattro is named by Audi as the latest in the company's benchmark innovation. Audi claimed that it would only take 4 minutes to refill the tanks of the vehicle, making it efficient as it is sporty.

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