Frankfurt 2009: Mercedes-Benz BlueZero E-Cell Plus Plug-in Introduced

Frankfurt 2009: Mercedes-Benz BlueZero E-Cell Plus Plug-in Introduced

Mercedes-Benz introduced its BlueZero E-Cell Plus concept car at the Frankfurt Auto show.

The plug-in electric Hybrid can travel up to 100km (62 miles) on electric power before the gasoline engine kicks in to recharge the lithium-ion batteries, enabling an extended range of 600km (373 miles). The engine is a turbocharged 1.0-liter 3-cylinder powerplant producing 67hp. The electric motor which actually powers the car makes 134hp and 236 ft-lbs of torque, enabling the plug-in hybrid to hit 62 mph in 11 seconds.

Impressively, the BlueZERO E-Cell Plus can be recharged for 50km trips in just 30 minutes using a special rapid charger. A full charge will take an hour or up to six hours with a conventional wall outlet.

The E-Cell Plus’ door handles are flush with the door, popping open with a touch. I had a hard time figuring it out myself; I tried touching it, tapping it, even swiping a finger across the handle but I couldn’t get it to work. A Mercedes-Benz rep came by to help me out, giving the handle a simple tap on its wider back end. The door handle then slowly slid out, opening the door at the same time.

The E-Cell Plus is one of three models in Mercedes-Benz’s BlueZero family. The E-Cell, introduced in Detroit earlier this year, is completely battery-powered with a range of 200 km (124 miles). The F-Cell is powered by fuel cell with a hydrogen gas tank. It has a range of 400 km (248 miles) and produces water vapor as a by-product.

Gallery: Mercedes-Benz BlueZero E-Cell Plus