By the middle of the next decade Mercedes-Benz wants its entire lineup to be able to operate entirely free of petroleum. The German giant is working on a variety of technologies that will help provide crude oil free transport such as battery electrics, fuel cells and highly efficient internal combustion engines that can operate on biofuels. Mercedes has recently been letting European journalists sample some of these new powertrains at a test facility in Spain.
The F700 concept that debuted last fall in Frankfurt is powered by a turbocharged DiesOtto engine. The DiesOtto is Mercedes' branding for a combined HCCI and spark ignition engine that provides nearly the same efficiency as a diesel without the need for the expensive after-treatment systems. This and conventional diesel engines can run on biofuels and Mercedes hopes to launch the DiesOtto in production by 2010. Mercedes is also currently field testing electrically-driven vehicles with both batteries alone and fuel cells each of which they also plan to launch at the beginning of the decade. While it may well be that all Mercedes models in 2015 will be capable of running petroleum free, the reality is that many - if not most - will still be using fossil fuels much of the time. That may come in the form of coal for electricity, natural gas reformed into hydrogen, or petroleum fuels blended with biofuels. But you have to start somewhere.
[Source: The Sun]