AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Sharing the stage at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show with an all-new SL for 2013 will be two new Mercedes-Benz products designed to deliver heightened fuel economy. Both cars will be based on the current E-Class and both will be hybrids, but that’s where the similarities end.
Up first is the E300 BlueTec Hybrid, using a version of the Mercedes 2.1-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder. That engine makes 201 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque and will come mated to an electric motor producing 27 hp and 184 lb-ft with a lithium-ion battery pack holding the charge. The result will be a 0-62 mph time of 7.5 seconds and an all-electric range of about a mile at speeds below 35 mph. Mercedes is targeting a fuel economy rating in the high 60 mpg range, although that’s on the generous European cycle.
In addition, Mercedes will unveil the E400 gasoline hybrid using the brand’s 3.5-liter V6 and the same electric motor to deliver roughly 32.4 mpg on the U.S. EPA cycle.
According to Mercedes-Benz, the next generation S-Class, when it goes on sale late next year, will strengthen its position as one of the world’s best luxury sedans, retaining not only the luxury and quality buyers expect, but also adding new features and technology to make it even more capable and efficient.
The new S-Class will be built off a version of Mercedes’ modular rear-wheel drive architecture, already used on the current E-Class and will boast greater use of aluminum in order to save weight, including the body panels and suspension. Speaking of the latter, it will also incorporate Mercedes’ Magic Ride control system, which uses cameras to detect road conditions and alter spring and shock rates in order to maintain a desired level of ride comfort, without sacrificing handling (fast reacting airbags at each corner are designed to eliminate body roll during cornering).
Engines will include a range of diesels, as well as hybrid powertrains and conventional gas engines. In Europe the 250 CDI and 350 CDI diesels will likely remain, joined by S300 and S400 BlueTec hybrids which mate a 2.1-liter four-cylinder and 3.0-liter V6 oil burning engines respectively with an electric motor. Higher up the scale there will also be S500 V8 gas and S600 V12 models, both designed to meet ultra stringent 2015 EU6 regulations (no word yet on which powertrains will make it to the US, though the V8 and V12s are probably the most likely candidates, at least in the short term).
Further aiding fuel efficiency is a 9-speed automatic transmission, a development of the current 7G-Tronic, though whether it will be standard on all models, especially the lower priced diesels remains to be seen.
Mercedes will offer five different body configurations for the upcoming S-Class, a regular, short wheelbase four-door sedan, two long wheelbase derivatives, including an extra long Pullman, plus a coupe (which replaces the current CL) and a cabrio, marking the first time since the 1971 W111 280 SE 3.5, that Mercedes has offered an open top S-class model.
In terms of styling, the 2013 S-Class is said to break away from the current “Gothic” look in favor of a more “contemporary appearance .” Translated, that likely means a bolder grille, more defined character lines, plus roofline with more pronounced curvature, think CLS meets the F800 Style concept (shown above). Inside, the new S-Class is rumored to set new standards in terms of quality and ergonomics and will likely be considerably cleaner, with a free standing centrally mounted multi-media screen, plus a greater use of more natural materials for trim, such as marine inspired wood and aluminum.
When most people think Toyota and hybrid, the Prius naturally comes to mind. Indeed, Japan’s largest automaker has been capitalizing on the car’s brand equity, expanding the range to include the A/V wagon and plug-in variants.
But cars aren’t the only thing on Toyota’s mind when it comes to hybrids. In fact, for it’s next major thrust into the North American market, the company is literally thinking bigger when it comes to internal combustion/electric powered vehicles, in this case, commercial trucks.
In the last two decades, Japanese light and medium-duty trucks have made sizable inroads in the North American market and now Toyota, through it’s heavy truck division Hino, is hoping that it can add hybrids to the mix.
In Japan, Hino has developed a diesel/electric version of it’s light and middle weight Dutro cab-over-engine truck. Compared to it’s diesel only predecessor, the latest Dutro is said to boast an improvement in fuel economy by around 50 percent, making it particularly attractive for fleet customers, especially those that use trucks for local delivery work in urban areas.
Introducing a variant of the Dutro hybrid to North America is part of Hino’s goal to quadruple sales in our market, to approximately 140,000 units annually by 2015.
For US consumption, the Hino hybrid will be available in either 14,500 lb or heavier-duty 19,500 lb configurations (called 155h and 195h respectively) and will feature an Aisin six-speed automatic transmission. The battery system is reportedly the same as that used in the Lexus LS hybrid and the battery packs themselves will be sourced from Primearth Electric Vehicle Energy Co., another Toyota subsidiary.
Given the current cost of fuel prices and commercial truck operators looking to save fuel any way they can (look at all the trailer fairings appearing on large over-the-road rigs to help reduce wind resistance and improve mileage), the announcement of the Hino hybrid will no doubt be good news , especially as many Japanese commercial trucks currently offered in the US are largely employed as urban delivery vehicles, where frequent stop-start driving is the norm.
However, for those that aren’t quite ready to take the plunge, Hino has said it will offer conventional diesel versions of the truck alongside the hybrid models, with deliveries slated to begin in August.
[Source: Automotive News]
Land Rover will unveil the next step in its mission to become a ‘greener’ automaker at the Geneva Auto Show in just a few weeks time. Set to take the stand alongside the new 3-door and 5-door Evoque models is the Range_e Range Rover Sport.
Powered by a turbo-diesel V6 engine, mated to a plug-in hybrid setup, the Range_e can travel up to 20 miles on pure electric power and reach a total distance of 690 miles.
While an excellent solution to fuel economy and environmental concerns, hybrid diesels are prohibitively expensive for most automakers. That rule may not, however, apply to Land Rover, as many customers purchase the vehicles particularly because of their exclusivity and price.
Still just a concept at this point, Land Rover may make a production announcement for the hybrid diesel SUV in Geneva, with previous reports suggesting it would see production in 2013.
File this under hard to believe. According to a recent report Mitsubishi has scrapped plans to build a hybrid EVO in favor of a diesel hybrid EVO.
AutoCar is reporting that a gasoline hybrid project based on the PX-MiEV concept was recently junked in favor of this new direction for the EVO XI. Using a torquey diesel powerplant mated to even more torque provided by an electric motor, the EVO XI would provide plenty of grunt, although the switch to a diesel option would likely remove it from competition use in motorsports and would most certainly kill the car’s following in North America. In fact, if Mitsubishi does decide to go the hybrid diesel route there’s a good chance they could cut the model altogether from Mitsu’s U.S. lineup, opting instead for more of a Ralliart pseudo-high-performance model to fill its shoes.
Land Rover has announced that its first hybrid models will arrive 2013 and has unveiled the Range_e, a concept based on the Range Rover Sport, but using a hybrid diesel powertrain.
Tests for the hybrid models will begin later this year with a production date set for 2013 – coinciding with a complete overhaul of the current Range Rover lineup. Both a gasoline hybrid and a diesel hybrid are planned, although the diesel hybrid is first priority and according to Car Magazine, Land Rover engineers feel that a gasoline hybrid should be quite easy once the more complex diesel hybrid has been completed. The Range Rover Sport model is expected to be the first hybrid Land Rover to hit the market.
Additional upgrades planned for the full-cycle refresh include a new 8-speed automatic transmission as well as a significantly lighter aluminum chassis – although the hybrid setup is certain to add some of that weight back on.
Once the hybrids launch, Land Rover is looking towards a 2015 launch date for a plug-in hybrid that can travel 20 miles emissions free at speeds of up to 70 mph.
GALLERY: Range_e Hybrid Range Rover Sport
[Source: Car Magazine]
The E300 BlueTEC Hybrid is set to be Europe’s first diesel hybrid when it goes on sale at the end of next year as a 2011. Powered by the E250 CDI’s 2.2-liter diesel with 204-hp, it gets an additional 15 kW (20-hp) electric motor and lithium-ion battery that assist in powering the car, charging up through a regenerative braking process. As a full-hybrid, the E300 BlueTEC Hybrid can also operate on just electric power for short distances at speeds of up to 35 km/h (22 mph). The diesel engine also shuts off when slowing down at speeds below 80 km/h (50 mph) to reduce consumption.
Total output for the hybrid powertrain is rated at 224-hp and 428 ft-lbs of torque.
Mercedes will bring both a sedan and wagon (estate) version of the E300 BlueTEC Hybrid to market late in 2011.
GALLERY: Mercedes E300 BlueTEC Hybrid
For more on the E300 BlueTEC Hyrbid see the full press release after the jump:
S-Class Plug-In Hybrid and E300 BlueTec Hybrid coming in 2011 and beyond
With the launch of two hybrid models in 2009, Mercedes-Benz has announced it will add two more hybrids to its lineup starting in 2011. More impressive, is that neither is a run-of-the-mill type of hybrid.
Due out first is the E300 BlueTec Hybrid, based on the new E-Class model. It will be a hybrid and as the name suggests, will use Mercedes’ BlueTec diesel technology. This may be the first diesel-hybrid to launch in North America. It will get an impressive 40 mpg.
Following that model, Mercedes plans to launch a plug-in hybrid S-Class, similar to the one foreshadowed with the Vision S500 Plug-In Hybrid, which debuted at the Frankfurt Auto Show last year. Thanks to a direct-injection 3.5-liter V6 engine mated to a 60-hp/184 ft-lb electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack, the car is capable of getting an amazing 73.5 mpg! Possibly more shocking is that the car doesn’t sacrifice performance, with a 0-60 mph time of 5.4 seconds. Additionally, the electric motor will be able to power the car emissions-free for 18 miles.
Already launched are the S400 Hybrid and the ML450 Hybrid. The S400 Hybrid was the first Mercedes hybrid to go on sale and is also the first mass production automobile to use a lithium-ion battery. Priced at $87,950 it uses an electric motor and 3.5-liter gasoline V6 to produce 295-hp, while getting mileage of 19/26 mpg – an improvement of 26 percent over the S550 in the city. Despite its high-tech battery pack, the S400 Hybrid is a mild-hybrid, which limits its fuel economy.
The second hybrid model from Mercedes is the ML450 Hybrid 4MATIC. A lease-only model, for either 36 or 60 months, at either $659 or $549 per month, the ML450 is the first two-mode hybrid (like the Toyota Prius) from Mercedes. The ML450 uses a 3.5-liter V6 engine and two electric motors to make 335-hp and 381 ft-lbs of torque. Unlike the S400 Hybrid, it will be able to operate exclusively on electric power for short periods of time. Its fuel economy is rated at 21/24 mpg (city/highway), which is roughly the same as the ML350 Bluetec diesel at 18/25 mpg. This is also a 46 percent improvement over the fuel economy rating of the similarly-powerful ML550.