Concept Cars The new electric Mercedes BClass Nachrichten EnglishNews DIE WELT

23 Мар 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Concept Cars The new electric Mercedes BClass Nachrichten EnglishNews DIE WELT отключены
Mercedes Electric Cars

The new electric Mercedes B-Class

The tension is rising: More and more carmakers are looking to secure their futures in electric cars. Mercedes will not just be giving a preview of the new B-Class at the Detroit Auto Show in January; it will already send three electric concept cars into the running. A limited number of them should be on the market by 2010.

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Mercedes may have already devoted a lot of energy in electric cars with its early fuel cell cars and most recently the electric Smart, though cars like the Tesla Roadster or the Mini E, released just a few weeks ago, have taken some of the wind out of their sails of late. This should change at the latest at the Detroit Auto Show in January. There Mercedes will unveil three concept cars meant to lead the way into an electric future.

They are all called Blue-Zero and will roll together with a single body, chosen by chief designer Gorden Wagener to introduce the next generation of the B-Class, onto the stage.

The fully encased engine lobe is placed vertically like with the BMW E1, the headlights have a severe cut, and some parts of the body, 4.22 meters long, as well as some consoles in the interior, are see-through to give an idea of the technology.

After all, as spiffy as the design of the B-Class of tomorrow may be, it is really only of secondary importance. The engine is the main focus of attention. Each has an electric motor with a different concept enabling a range from 200 to 600 kilometers.

The entry-level car has a variable E-Cell engine, which draws its power, like the Mini E, from a 35 kWh lithium ion battery. After charging for three to four hours on a household plug, it can travel for around 200 kilometers without releasing a milligram of pollutants.

Equally pollution-free, the F-Cell car produces its own power on board. This car has a fuel cell producing electrical power from hydrogen, with steam the only emission. Though there is still neither a network of suitable gas stations nor an environmentally sound means of hydrogen production, in theory one can drive 400 kilometers at full speed in this car with a good conscience.

The version with the best chances for mass production in the near future is the E-Cell Plus with a so-called ‘range extender': its battery is only half as large as the E-Cell and lasts for just 100 km. Before the battery runs out of juice, a rotation cylinder from the Smart, mounted in the replacement wheel, springs into action, producing power with the help of a generator. A full tank then lasts for an additional 500 km, covering all possible contingencies.

Regardless of where the power comes from, the wheels are driven by an electric motor with a constant 95 hp, temporarily as high as 136 hp, which during acceleration has as much as 320 newton-meters, as much torque as a conventional V6.

The blue baby-Benz is accordingly snappy out of the starting block. At speeds above 150 km/h, the electric power shuts off, increasing the cars’ range.

Other carmakers have toyed with such modular concepts, for example the E-Flex family and the Volt introduced by Chevrolet. But no other car is so suited for the alternative engines as the baby-Benz, says Daimler, and revels in the so-called ‘sandwich floor’, cursed by the cost-cutting producers. While the Tesla Roadster or the Mini E sacrifice the trunk space or even the back seat for the batteries, the blue B-Class remains a full five-seater with 500 liters of storage space in the back.

Mercedes Electric Cars

Of course these cars will never be mass-produced. And even with a conventional body, it will be a few years before the electric and fuel cell versions can be found at the dealership. Mercedes has taken a first step, however, and announced the next steps: during the next year, a small number of B-Class cars with fuel cell technology (F-Cell) should become available. From 2010, the first Mercedes electric cars should be ready.

Customers wishing to purchase them will have to wait until 2012, however.

Mercedes makes its own lithium ion batteries

Nearly all carmakers have announced they will be producing electric cars. But no one can announce specific dates, given the lack of the necessary lithium ion batteries. Mercedes has grown tired of waiting and is going on the offensive: Instead of waiting for external suppliers, it is building its own lithium ion batteries.

Accordingly, it announced this week a cooperation with the energy provider Evonik, whose daughter Li-Tex has already developed batteries ready for production.

The so-called flat cells are superior to previous solutions in their energy density, weight, and security, and on top of that they are built to be stacked like fuel cells in order to be installed in the existing system. Though there is still no production date, given the expertise behind Evonik and the 600 patents owned by Daimler relating to battery-driven cars, the partners are confident that the first personal and utility vehincles by Mercedes will be fitted with such batteries in the short term.

Translated by Jacob Comenetz

Mercedes Electric Cars

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