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Mercedes-Benz reveals a range of future hybrid models

Mercedes has not gained much coverage in Green-Car-Guide over the last 12 months, however the company is certainly attempting to make up lost time with its comprehensive announcement at the Frankfurt Motor Show about its future green plans.

In total, details about 19 new models are revealed, among them seven hybrids, plus the F 700 research vehicle.

Mercedes says that the long-term objective of its “Road to the Future” development strategy, which focuses on sustainability, is for ‘fuel-efficient and environmentally compatible premium cars that do not compromise on safety, comfort or supreme driving pleasure’.

The development priorities along the way include ‘modular drive technologies’. In practice this means hybrids.

At Frankfurt Mercedes-Benz is also displaying a number of new production models featuring the diesel emissions control system BLUETEC, which was launched in the United States in 2006. Mercedes says that “BLUETEC HYBRID” makes possible the most economical and cleanest combustion-engine vehicles in the world. All six BLUETEC models shown in Frankfurt have the potential to meet the most stringent emissions standards of the future, anywhere in the world, including the European EU6 and the American BIN5 standards. Frankfurt also marks the debut of a Mercedes-Benz passenger car with fuel-cell drive, which will go into production in 2010.

The ‘modular concept’ means that innovative technologies can be introduced into all Mercedes-Benz model series in a flexible manner and with a minimum of delay. Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of DaimlerChrysler AG says: “In this way, we are giving our customers the certainty that their Mercedes will continue to meet even the highest expectations in terms of safety, comfort and assured performance – and do so in an environmentally compatible way that is quite unrivalled.”

The F 700 research vehicle features an innovative DIESOTTO engine that combines the best elements of both diesel and petrol engines. A turbocharger enables the 1.8-litre four-cylinder unit to deliver a rated output of 238 hp and a maximum torque of 400 Nm; but when coupled with a 20 hp hybrid module the DIESOTTO hybrid drive develops a combined maximum output of 258 hp – yet the F 700 achieves 53.3 mpg.

The CO2 emissions of the F 700 – just 127 g/km – equal those of today’s diesel-powered compact models, making the F 700 a luxury model with the lowest petrol consumption of any saloon in the history of the car,” says Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of DaimlerChrysler. In spite of its low fuel consumption figures, the F 700 accelerates from a standstill to 62 mph in just 7.5 seconds.

First off the starting blocks on the Mercedes-Benz Road to the Future is the new E 300 BLUETEC. Following the successful launch in the United States of the world’s first BLUETEC passenger car – the E 320 BLUETEC, which was voted “World Green Car of the Year 2007” in the States – the technology to give us the cleanest diesel in the world is now about to arrive in Europe as well. The E 300 BLUETEC, the cleanest and most economical EU5 business-class diesel, comes to the European market in December 2007.

The R, ML und GL 320 BLUETEC models that follow in 2008 will be the first three diesel SUVs in the world that can meet the stringent American 50-state BIN5 standard as having the potential to meet a future EU6 European emissions standard.

The first 100 smart fortwo ed with “electric drive” are currently being tested in a large-scale pilot scheme in London. At the heart of the local zero-emission drive unit is a 41 hp permanent magnet (PM) electric engine, which delivers a maximum torque of 140 Nm right from the moment the engine starts up. The smart fortwo ed therefore offers one of the cleanest ways of nipping around in city traffic, where it offers a range of up to 71 miles.

From October 2007, the first of three different hybrid solutions exhibited by the Mercedes Car Group at the IAA in Frankfurt will be present in the smart mhd – or “micro hybrid drive”. With this technology, the fuel consumption of this economical three-cylinder petrol engine, which still develops an output of 71 hp and a maximum torque of 92 Nm, drops from 60.1 mpg to 65.7 mpg, corresponding to CO2 emissions of 103 g/km.

With a fuel consumption of 85.6 mpg and a correspondingly low CO2 emissions level of 88 g/km, the smart cdi is currently the most economical and environment-friendly car in the world among series-production vehicles. At the IAA smart shows a further developed, cutting-edge diesel version, the smart cdi mhd. Thanks to its start-stop technology, with its 97.4 mpg, and 78 g/km, the smart fortwo cdi mhd sets the new world-wide benchmark. The smart fortwo cdi mhd features a closed-trap diesel particulate filter, which reduces particle emission to a barely-measurable level. And in terms of all the other exhaust gas components, the smart fortwo cdi mhd is so clean, that it undercuts the stringent EU5 limit values.

This year will also see the launch on the European market by Mercedes-Benz of the cleanest and most economical EU5-compliant diesel in the executive category, in the shape of the E 300 BLUETEC. A combination of engine modifications, oxidation catalytic converter and particulate filter with BLUETEC technology – in this case with a high-durability NOx storage catalytic converter and a special SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) catalytic converter – delivers exemplary values for all constituents of emissions. For example, the nitrogen oxide limit values set by the EU5 standard is significantly undercut, so that this technology shows the potential to fulfil the EU6 standard.

The innovative BLUETEC technology was first introduced by Mercedes-Benz in the E 320 BLUETEC, launched in October 2006 in the United States, where it was successfully sold as the first BIN8-compliant diesel passenger car in the world, being voted “World Green Car of the Year 2007”. In Europe Mercedes-Benz will continue to offer the existing E 320 CDI alongside the new E 300 BLUETEC. The slightly lower top performance of the new BLUETEC model –211 hp as opposed to 224 hp – is a result of measures to improve pollutant emissions. Further optimisation measures include special piezo injectors as well as very specific “fine tuning” of the turbocharger and exhaust gas recirculation system. The maximum torque remains high at 540 Nm at 1600 rpm, thus ensuring effortlessly superior performance, here in conjunction with reduced consumption and very clean exhaust emissions. The fuel consumption of the E 300 BLUETEC in accordance with NEDC is 38.7 mpg

In parallel with the E 300 BLUETEC, Mercedes-Benz is extending its model range to include the sophisticated petrol direct-injection engine with spray-guided combustion process. The V6 petrol engine that has been available since spring 2006 in the CLS 350 CGI, the first one of its kind in the world to use this innovative combustion system and piezo injection, will come onto the market in the E-Class as well from December as the E 350 CGI, in both saloon and estate guises. Compared with the E 350, which will continue to be available, the 292 hp V engine offers 20 hp more power and 15 Nm more torque (365 Nm), although its consumption is 10 per cent lower. In the NEDC combined cycle the E 350 CGI Saloon, which accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in just 6.8 seconds, achieves 32.5 mpg. The top speed of all model variants is electronically limited to 155 mph.

More power and lower consumption is achieved by the new C 220 CDI Estate. Its four-cylinder diesel engine has been further refined to produce 18 per cent, or 60 Nm, more torque. As a result the engine revs, and thus also consumption under real-life conditions, could be reduced. With the six-speed manual transmission that is fitted as standard on this model, the C 220 CDI Estate records 46.3 mpg and yet with performance improvements of 13 per cent from 150 hp to 170 hp. The excellent aerodynamics, coupled with the fact that the weight has remained virtually the same as that of the smaller predecessor model, are additional factors contributing to the optimising of fuel consumption. The C 220 CDI Estate accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in 8.9 seconds and reaches a top speed of 139 mph. The new model comes onto the market in early December with a range of eight state-of-the-art four and six-cylinder engines.

In April 2008 Mercedes-Benz will be bringing a further C-Class model with excellent fuel consumption onto the market: the C 200 CDI, which according to NEDC ratings delivers 55.4 mpg, and achieving CO2 emissions of 135 g/km. A factor in this achievement is an efficiency package consisting of a lowering of the vehicle body by 15 mm, aerodynamic details, tyres with a particularly low rolling resistance and a further-optimised four-cylinder diesel engine that offers a top performance of 136 hp and a maximum torque of 270 Nm.

A low fuel consumption of just 62.8 mpg – corresponding to CO2 emissions of 119 g/km – is a key feature of the A 160 CDI, due to be launched in June 2008. The reduction in fuel consumption can be attributed to intelligent optimisation in all relevant vehicle components.

Mercedes is also exhibiting its first compact model with natural-gas drive: the B 170 NGT. This 116 hp-powered version of the B-Class will be the company’s second such vehicle, and will join the E 200 NGT in June 2008. It offers the same basic advantages as the larger saloon: CO2 emissions that are some 20 per cent lower than those of a comparable petrol model, at a consumption of 4.9 kg of natural gas per 100 km – corresponding to 38.2 mpg – the B 170 NGT produces CO2 emissions of just 135 g/km. Running costs are lower than those of a comparable petrol-engine vehicle by about one half.

The role of alternative and synthetic fuels for internal combustion engines is becoming more and more important in ensuring environmentally compatible mobility. Their use can significantly improve the overall CO2 balance, while also reducing our dependency on fossil fuel sources. For Mercedes-Benz, the use of natural gas represents an important milestone along the way to more widespread use of synthetic fuels from biomass.

The experience that Mercedes-Benz has gained in the US with the E 320 BLUETEC has been extremely positive, and the company is resolved to move forward with its BLUETEC initiative. Three BLUETEC SUVs – all of them with V6 engines – will appear already in 2008. The R 320 BLUETEC on display at the IAA, plus the ML and GL 320 BLUETEC. All three models are fitted with BLUETEC and AdBlue injection system, whereby urea, an innocuous watery solution, is injected into the exhaust gas flow. This process releases ammonia, which reacts within the secondary SCR catalytic converter to reduce up to 80 per cent of the nitrogen oxides to harmless nitrogen and water. The optimum amount of AdBlue for each operating condition is determined electronically. All three models fulfil the strict US BIN5 exhaust gas 50-State standard, as well as having the potential to fulfil a planned EU6 emissions standard.

With 211 hp, the V6 engine in the R 320 BLUETEC (of identical design in the ML and GL BLUETEC) develops a maximum torque of 540 Nm. The rear-wheel drive version achieves 36.2 mpg and the permanent all-wheel drive model manages 34.5 mpg.

Since 15th October 2006, the day widespread introduction of low-sulphur diesel fuel throughout the US began, Mercedes-Benz has been able to offer the very latest and cleanest diesel technology there, with oxidation catalytic converter, particulate filter and BLUETEC.

With the C 250 BLUETEC, Mercedes-Benz launches its new generation of 4-cylinder engines in 2009. The 2.2 litre drive delivers 204 hp and produces a maximum torque of 480 Nm – values which until recently could only be achieved by 6-cylinder diesel powerplants with a displacement of at least 3 litres. These values enable the C 250 BLUETEC to achieve a remarkable driving performance. It accelerates in just 7.9 seconds from zero to 62 mph, reaching a top speed of 152 mph. At the same time, fuel consumption figures are exceptionally low for its class. Fuel consumption is just 57.7 mpg and CO2 emissions only 130 g/km. Thanks to comprehensive BLUETEC exhaust gas purification, the new diesel is as clean as a petrol engine in all exhaust gas components, so that it will be able to comply with a future EU6 standard.

Mercedes-Benz is also presenting the ML 450 HYBRID, which will come onto the market in 2009 as the world’s most economical SUV petrol hybrid in its class. Its innovative two-mode hybrid system means it can be driven with just the electric engine. The V6 petrol engine produces 279 hp and 338 Nm of torque, while the two-mode hybrid module with two electric motors, develops 61 hp. The end result is a combined system output of 321 hp and a combined maximum torque of 480 Nm – supreme performance that comes with a fuel consumption of just 36.7 mpg. The ML 450 Hybrid thus achieves CO2 emissions that are exemplary for this class of vehicle of just 185 g/km.

In the ML 450 HYBRID two compact electric engines are used, developing a total power output of 163 hp. They take up a lot less space in the vehicle than comparable systems. The unique system, with four fixed gears, combines the advantages of a multiple-speed automatic transmission with those of a stepless CVT transmission. The two electric motors are integrated in the innovative two-mode hybrid transmission of the ML 450 HYBRID. This drive is optimised both for the city and for country roads. Voltage is supplied by a 288-V battery, which makes it possible to store considerable quantities of electrical energy. In interaction with an intelligent energy management system, this vehicle features all the full hybrid characteristics such as driving entirely under electric power, the start-stop function of the internal-combustion engine, boost effect and braking energy recovery.

At the same time as the ML 450 HYBRID, Mercedes-Benz will be launching an S-Class with petrol hybrid on the market. In the S 400 HYBRID, which will also be available from mid-2009 in Europe, the 279 hp V6 petrol engine is combined with a hybrid module delivering from the outset 160 Nm and 20 hp. The combined maximum power output is 299 hp, the combined maximum torque amounts to 375 Nm.

The S 400 HYBRID can accelerate in 7.3 seconds from 0 to 62 mph and reach an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph yet it achieves 35.8 mpg in the NEFZ cycle. This results in CO2 emissions of just 190 g/km.

The compact hybrid module installed in all the S-Class hybrids comprises a disc-shaped electric engine, which also functions as a starter motor and dynamo. A boost effect is produced by the electric engine supporting the combustion engine during the high-consumption acceleration phase with a maximum extra torque of 160 Nm. With this high torque the electric engine assists the combustion engine when accelerating from very low engine speeds. As a result, the combustion engine itself needs less time and energy to build up its maximum torque.

The hybrid module also features a start-stop function which switches the engine off whenever the vehicle stops, for example at traffic lights. Once the vehicle is ready to move off again, the electric engine starts the main engine again so gently, that it remains virtually unnoticed. This of course also contributes to fuel savings and is kind to the environment: since the engine starts virtually immediately, virtually no unburned fuel is discharged when starting off. When decelerating, on the other hand, the electric engine functions as a generator, and can recover braking energy in what is known as the recuperation process. This energy is stored in a powerful but compact lithium-ion battery pack in the engine compartment, ready for use when required. The engine management of this complex system is governed by a powerful control unit, which is also installed close to the engine.

In the summer of 2010, Mercedes-Benz will launch the first series-production car with a local zero-emission fuel-cell drive. The small-scale series production of the B-Class F-Cell will begin in early 2010. The engine for this innovative vehicle will be a new generation of fuel-cell engine that is much more compact and yet at the same time more powerful and completely practicable for everyday use.

At its heart will be the optimised fuel-cell system which Mercedes-Benz introduced in the F 600 HYGENIUS research vehicle in 2005. This very compact system is considerably more efficient than previous generations of fuel cells. The redesigned stack is around 40 per cent smaller and produces 30 per cent more power, yet it uses 16 per cent less fuel. Starting under cold conditions has also been improved with the help of innovations such as an electric turbocharger to control the air supply and a new ventilation and dehumidification system.

The B-Class F-Cell features another improved, more compact and more powerful system. The electric engine develops top output of 136 hp and a maximum torque of 320 Nm. The B-Class F-Cell therefore meets all expectations in terms of dynamic performance, which is on a par with that of a two-litre petrol-engine vehicle. However, the consumption of the emission-free fuel-cell engine in this ideal compact family car corresponds to an outstanding 97.4 mpg (diesel equivalent).

The new E-Class will arrive on the market in 2010 as the first of a total of three Mercedes-Benz models to offer the unique combination of BLUETEC, 7G-TRONIC and hybrid technology. The modular technology concept of the E 300 BLUETEC HYBRID consists of a new four-cylinder diesel that develops 204 hp and a maximum torque of 480 Nm from 2.2 litres of displacement, plus a compact hybrid module delivering an additional 20 hp, and resulting in fuel consumption of 55.4 mpg, corresponding to CO2 emissions of just 134 g/km.

The S 300 BLUETEC HYBRID is due to arrive on the market in 2010. The configuration and performance data of this engine are identical to those in the E 300 BLUETEC HYBRID. In the S-Class too, the BLUETEC/Hybrid combination develops a maximum torque of 560 Nm, comparable with that of a large-volume V8 petrol engine. When combined with the standard 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission, the S 300 BLUETEC HYBRID accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in just 8.4 seconds, and it can reach a top speed of 149 mph. Fuel consumption will be 52.3 mpg, corresponding to 142 g/km CO2.

In 2011 the C 300 BLUETEC HYBRID will be the next Mercedes-Benz model benefiting from the unique modular technology concept to enter the market. With a combined power output of 224 hp and a combined maximum torque of 560 Nm, the engine delivers the same performance here as it does in the S 300 BLUETEC HYBRID and the E 300 BLUETEC HYBRID. Due to its lower vehicle weight, the C 300 BLUETEC accelerates even faster (0-62 mph in 7.2 s), while its top speed stands at 147 mph.

The C 300 BLUETEC HYBRID is capable of 61.4 mpg, achieving CO2 emissions of just 122 g/km. The extremely efficient emissions control system in the C 300 BLUETEC HYBRID uses – like the E 300 BLUETEC HYBRID – the combination of oxidation catalytic converter and diesel particulate filter from the version of BLUETEC with the NOx storage catalytic converter, giving it the potential to meet even the most stringent emissions standards like EU6 and BIN5.

After 2010 the S 400 BLUETEC HYBRID will combine the 20 hp hybrid module with a V6 diesel engine giving average fuel consumption of just 48.7 mpg and CO2 emissions of 154 g/km.

The F 700 research vehicle is a concept for the luxury long-distance saloon of the future. The pioneering DIESOTTO engine used in the F 700, a four-cylinder unit with a displacement of just 1.8 litres, combines the advantages of a low-emission petrol engine with the fuel efficiency of a diesel engine. Its CO2 emissions of just 127 g/km correspond to a fuel consumption of 53.3 mpg. At its heart is DIESOTTO technology, which features homogenous charge compression ignition, direct injection and turbocharger, combining the performance of the petrol engine with the excellent torque and low consumption of the diesel. The four-cylinder engine in the F 700, with its two-stage charging, gives it the performance of an S-Class of today with a 3.5-litre naturally aspirated V6 petrol engine or 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel.

“Our aim is to make the petrol engine as economical as a diesel, and the new DIESOTTO concept is a big step in this direction. It combines all the best qualities of petrol and diesel engines,” commented Dr Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of DaimlerChrysler AG with responsibility for Group Research and Mercedes Car Group Development.