Three Mercedes-Benz B-Class fuel cell vehicles have begun an epic 125-day circumnavigation of the world. The cars will travel 30,000 km across four continents and through 14 countries and will finish their world tour back in Stuttgart, where they started.

The F-CELL World Drive, as it’s called, is aimed at confirming the technical maturity of fuel cell technology, as well as its suitability for everyday use as a safe and reliable means of transport over long distances and in the widest variety of road and weather conditions.

The tour will initially head south via Paris, Barcelona and Madrid into Lisbon, continuing the journey by plane to the US east coast. From Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the route heads across North America along the Gulf of Mexico towards Los Angeles before heading up to vancouver, Canada, a distance of 7,500 km.

Next is a 5,000 km trip across Australia, beginning from Sydney towards Perth, with stopovers in Melbourne and Adelaide. The last transfer between continents takes the cars into Shanghai, and from Beijing, the cars will cover more than 10,000 km towards Moscow, before heading into Northern Europe. The cars will travel via Finland to Stockholm, then Oslo in Norway before making the journey back, via Denmark, to Germany, arriving in Stuttgart at the beginning of June.

The circumnavigation drive will also draw attention to a significant challenge, which is with the infrastructure needed for the provision of hydrogen. Mercedes says that this type of electric mobility can only be implemented on a comprehensive scale when it is backed by a network of hydrogen filling stations designed to meet demand. As such, the company is looking at motivating the advancement of filling station networks through joint development.

Now, getting more people and countries in on the act would naturally bring the cost of fuel cell technology and vehicles down, fitting in with the prediction reported earlier. Of course, based on the route taken by the world drive, you can see which countries are integral to those plans in the immediate term, and which are not.