The Mercedes-Benz plug-in-hybrid initiative is fully under way: following the S 500 e, C 350 e (Saloon, Estate and long version for China), the GLE 500 e 4MATIC and the GLC 350 e 4MATIC, models seven and eight will already be in dealer showrooms by the end of 2016, in the form of the GLC Coupé 350 e 4MATIC and the E 350 e.
All in all the hybrid portfolio, plug-in and conventional, from Mercedes-Benz presently comprises 13 models. In the E 350 e, the combination of the 9G-TRONIC plug-in-hybrid transmission and the latest generation of electric motors ensures top rankings for fuel consumption, ride comfort and dynamism.
The next major technological leap will be made in 2017, starting with the facelift of the S 500 e: for the first time, fully electric operating ranges exceeding 50 km (31 miles) will be made possible by a further development of the lithium-ion battery together with a further optimized, intelligent operating strategy.
Latest plug-in-hybrid generation in the Mercedes-Benz E 350 e
The Mercedes-Benz E 350 e will be launched before the end of 2016 with no less than two technological world premieres: the combination of the 9G-TRONIC plug-in-hybrid transmission and the latest generation of electric motors ensures top rankings for fuel consumption, ride comfort and dynamism. The E 350 e is also the first hybrid from Mercedes-Benz with a high trailer towing capacity of up to 2,100 kg.
The third-generation hybrid transmission evolved on the basis of the 9G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission. The torque converter, clutch and electric motor are housed in the innovative hybrid drive unit. The remarkably compact design has been achieved by integrating and connecting the clutch, torsional vibration damper and torque converter lock-up clutch within the rotor of the electric motor. The newly developed torque converter with its powerful and highly efficient hydraulic circuit offers the customary outstanding smoothness when pulling away in hybrid mode.
The E 350 e is the first vehicle to feature the newly developed and highly efficient 9G-TRONIC plug-in-hybrid transmission
Developed together with Bosch as part of the EM Motive joint venture, the electric motor was specially designed for the 9G-TRONIC plug-in-hybrid transmission. In combination with the likewise new and much more efficient power electronics, it was possible to further increase output and torque to 65 kW and 440 Nm respectively. This is 5 kW more output and 100 Nm more torque compared to the preceding system in the C 350 e. This high level of torque is instantly available from stationary, and allows tremendous agility when pulling away, plus sporty driving characteristics.
Further improvements to the intelligent operating strategy also increase the efficiency of the hybrid. The new thermal management links the vehicle’s cooling system with the navigation data, and predictively balances out temperature peaks by advance cooling. The recuperation function was also improved in the E 350 e: energy recovery not only sets in when approaching a slower-moving vehicle, but also before entering speed limits or on downhill gradients. Depending on the driving profile, the business saloon is able to cover up to 33 km (20.5 miles) with no emissions, consuming just 2.1 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (112 mpg US).
Intelligent operating strategy and special comfort and efficiency systems
The innovative hybrid traction head with clutch electric motor and converter in combination with the intelligent operating strategy allows the system to achieve the optimum comfort and efficiency in all driving situations.
- When the hybrid model is driving fully electrically, the clutch is disengaged while the internal combustion engine is decoupled and switched off.
- The clutch likewise remains disengaged during energy recuperation, the electric motor then acting as a generator and using the flywheel mass to charge the battery.
- The clutch is engaged during boost and sailing operation, or in Charge mode, and the intelligent hybrid control system actuates the electric motor according to current power requirements.
- The clutch remains engaged when driving with the internal combustion engine alone, and the intelligent hybrid control system switches the electric motor to free-running mode.
All the plug-in-hybrids have the following operating modes:
- Hybrid: All hybrid functions, such as electric mode, boost and recuperation are available and are deployed for optimum fuel efficiency.
- E-mode: used for all-electric driving – for example in inner-city areas or because the battery holds sufficient charge for the remainder of the journey.
- E-save: the charge status of the battery is maintained – for example to allow all-electric driving in an environmental zone at a later stage in the journey.
- Charge: Serves to charge the battery via the combustion engine while on the move, to enable all-electric driving in an environmental zone at a later stage in the journey, for example.
Special functions also improve comfort and efficiency:
- Silent start: the vehicle starts virtually silently and runs in electric mode. At this point the combustion engine is generally kept switched off.
- Boosting: The internal combustion engine is assisted with extra output by switching on the electric motor.
- Energy recuperation: Energy is recovered during braking, and fed to the battery. This energy can then be used at a later stage for electric driving or the boost function.
- Haptic accelerator pedal: Supports fuel-efficient driving. A resistance point indicates the maximum available electric output. A double impulse signals that the driver should remove their foot from the accelerator pedal in order to switch off the combustion engine and decouple it from the drive train.
- Intelligent drive management: Intelligent operating strategy for hybrid vehicles, anticipates the course of the road and the traffic situation for maximum efficiency. This includes radar-based recuperation, an anticipatory shifting and operating strategy, a route-based operating strategy and ECO Assist.
- Pre-entry climate control: The desired interior climate can be set before starting the journey – cooling in the summer, heating in the winter. This function can be activated via a pre-set departure time or via smartphone using the Mercedes me connect app.
- Retrieval of vehicle status: It is additionally possible to control the charging process or check the charge status and the current electric range via the Mercedes me connect app