Three versions of green car planned: Electric, Hydrogen Fuel-Cell & Hybrid
Mercedes-Benz says it will develop three blueZero models, including an electric model, a hydrogen fuel-cell model and an extended range hybrid-electric model. Some of the versions will even begin production this year.
Dr Thomas Weber, the man in charge of corporate research and development at Mercedes-Benz Cars says that, “From 2009, we will be producing the first Mercedes fuel-cell cars on a small scale. Small-scale production of Mercedes-Benz cars with battery-electric drive alone will then commence in 2010.” The extended-range hybrid-electric blueZero is expected after that.
The blueZero E-Cell will be a pure electric vehicle and will have an operating range of 124 miles. Mercedes estimates a 0-62 mph time of 11 seconds for it and the other models.
The blueZero F-Cell will be powered by an electric motor and lithium-ion batteries as well as a hydrogen fuel-cell – all of which will be located below the passenger compartment. This is due to Mercedes’ Sandwich architecture floor architecture, first developed for the A-Class and later used in the B-Class. Mercedes claims it will have an operating range of more than 250 miles.
Finally, Mercedes is still working on an extended-range blueZero, called the E-Cell Plus, which will use a battery and electric engine as well as a standard internal combustion engine. The gasoline engine will be the three-cylinder turbocharged motor found in the Smart fortwo. It will, however, operate on just the electric motor for 62 miles, at which point the gasoline motor will kick in to charge the batteries – much like a standard hybrid system. In total, Mercedes says the E-Cell Plus will achieve a range of 375 miles.