Mercedes-Benz has shown a handful of different models with their new mild hybrid system as auto show concepts over the past six months. This morning they finally announced official production plans for the first of those, the new S400 BlueHybrid. The S400 uses Mercedes 3.5L V-6 gas engine combined with the 15kW electric motor/generator. Unless someone else jumps in first, the S400 will be the first production automotive hybrid in the world to use a lithium ion battery. On the concepts shown last fall the battery was actually small enough to be mounted under-hood so that it doesn't intrude on trunk space. One of the advantages of the under-hood installation is that the engineers have been able to integrate the battery with the vehicle climate control system to regulate its temperature ensuring optimal performance.
On the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) which combines city and highway driving, the big S400 manages 29.8mpg (U.S.) which is pretty impressive for a vehicle of this type with a gas engine. The S400 BlueHybrid will be launching in calendar 2009 in both North America and Europe along with the ML450 hybrid. The ML450 also uses the 3.5L V-6 but it's combined with the two-mode hybrid system. More Mercedes models using the mild hybrid will be launched eventually as well including diesel hybrids. The Mercedes-Benz press release is after the jump.
Breakthrough in Battery Technology by Daimler
· First patented integration of a lithium-ion battery into a series-produced passenger car
· Available in Mercedes-Benz S 400 BlueHYBRID starting in 2009
· 25 patents for top technology "made in "
Stuttgart - Daimler AG has achieved a crucial breakthrough in battery technology. The Stuttgart-based automaker is the world's first manufacturer to have succeeded in adapting lithium-ion technology to the demanding requirements of automotive applications. Until now, the technology has been used primarily in consumer electronics. The new battery will be used in the series-production S 400 BlueHYBRID beginning next year. This important technology was possible thanks to 25 patents held by Daimler.
Dr. Thomas Weber, member of the Daimler AG Board of Management and responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, says: "What we have here is a groundbreaking key technology that is going to be a decisive factor for the future success of the automotive industry. That is a tribute to our intensive research efforts, which we have been conducting in this area since 1992."
The engineers' success is above all a result of the Daimler-developed integration of the lithium-ion battery into the vehicle's climate control system. This ensures that the battery always works at optimal system temperatures of between 15 and 35°C, which in turn makes it possible for the battery to provide long service life and maximum performance.
The main advantages offered by the newly developed lithium-ion battery are its very compact dimensions and its far superior performance compared to conventional nickel-metal hydride batteries. The weight/power ratio of the entire battery is 1,900 watts per liter (W/L). What's more, the battery stands out by virtue of its high ampere-hour efficiency, long service life, and great reliability, even at very low temperatures. Its high level of safety is the equal of that provided by today's auto batteries.
Lithium-ion batteries are ideally suited for use in hybrid vehicles to help reducing fuel consumption and thus also CO2 emissions. At the same time, the Daimler engineers are investigating to what degree this technology can be applied to other vehicle concepts, such as electric and fuel cell-powered cars.
S 400 BlueHYBRID - the world's most economical luxury sedan
The S 400 BlueHYBRID consumes only 7.9 liters of gasoline per 100 km in the NEDC. This results in very low CO2 emissions of only 190 grams per kilometer, a very low value for this vehicle class and power class, making the S 400 BlueHYBRID the world's most economical luxury sedan - unrivaled by any gasoline, diesel, or hybrid drive system offered by any competitor. And S 400 BlueHYBRID drivers will still enjoy impressive performance: combined with the hybrid module, the maximum output is 220 kW/299 hp, and the corresponding maximum torque is 375 Nm. The S 400 BlueHYBRID accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 7.3 seconds on its way to an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h.
Even more potential is offered by the combination of clean BlueTec diesel technology with a hybrid module, a duo that is featured in the S 300 BlueTec HYBRID, for example.