DaimlerChrysler AG's Mercedes-Benz unit will use the Tokyo Motor Show opening this week to debut its F600 Hygenius concept car, a 4-seat hydrogen fuel cell-powered research vehicle capable of achieving the equivalent of 81 mpg (2.9 L/100 km).

The vehicle's zero-emission powerplant, which uses the chemical reaction between compressed hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, emits only water as a byproduct and produces some 85 kW or 114 hp.

Electricity from the fuel cell, along with energy accumulated from the system's regenerative braking capabilities, reportedly is stored in lithium-ion battery packs, which in turn drives the Hygenius' electric motor.

Mercedes claims the car has a range of more than 250 miles (402 km).

Mercedes-Benz F600 Hygenius

Mounted in the vehicle's nose, with its hydrogen tank located within its flat floor, the F600's fuel-cell stack reportedly is about 40% more efficient than the auto maker's previous systems and will be production-ready between 2012 and 2015.

Additionally, the Hygenius can function as a mobile power source, as its 66 kW of battery power is sufficient to power several homes, the auto maker says.

Hygenius incorporates numerous comfort and safety features designed to improve the vehicle's overall driving experience.

The backrests of the front seats can be swung forward and reversed to allow child seats to be safely secured in a rearward-facing position. Passenger doors reportedly swing up and out to accommodate smaller European parking spaces, while the vehicle's 2-piece tailgate greatly improves rear access.

Hygenius also features cameras mounted in its exterior mirror housings, which scan for objects lurking in blind spots and momentarily prevent the doors from opening if approaching traffic is detected, Mercedes says.

The cameras function as a rear-facing lane-departure warning system, as well.

As a concept car, the F600 Hygenius provides a glimpse of the auto maker's powertrain technology. But Mercedes reportedly plans to incorporate all the vehicle's technologies into future vehicles.

The concept's styling cues, namely its headlamps and prominent wheel arches, reportedly provide hints to what the next-generation C-Class will look like when it appears in '07.