Mercedes-Benz is massively picking up the pace with regard to the electrification of the automobile. By 2022, the entire Mercedes-Benz Cars product range is set to be electrified. This means that different electrified alternatives will be available in every segment – from smart to large SUV.
There are plans for well in excess of 130 electrified vehicle variants, from 48-volt models to a wide range of plug-in hybrids to all-electric vehicles. The electric initiative is subsumed under the new technology and product brand EQ. EQ stands for “Electric Intelligence” and draws its strength from the two central Mercedes-Benz values: emotion and intelligence.
The first new third-generation plug-in hybrids labelled EQ Power are being delivered to customers now and over the coming months. Mercedes-Benz is initially using this type of powertrain in the C-Class, E-Class and S-Class. The 13.5 kWh battery in the hybrid vehicles is paired with either a petrol engine or, for the first time, a diesel engine. Another world first is the combination of plug-in-hybrid technology with a fuel cell in the new Mercedes-Benz GLC F-CELL (combined hydrogen consumption 0.34 kg/100 km, combined CO2 emissions 0 g/km, weighted electrical consumption 13.7 kWh/100 km).
And Mercedes unveiled the precursor to its new EQ brand just a few weeks ago with the world premiere of the Mercedes-Benz EQC (combined electrical consumption 22.2 kWh/100 km; combined CO2 emissions 0 g/km, provisional figures). By 2022, the EQ car family will include several more battery-electric models. The smart brand is going all out when it comes to electric mobility: smart is the first car brand with its sights set on a complete switchover from combustion engines to electric drive. All new smart cars sold in the USA, Canada and Norway since 2017 have electric drive, and this will also be the case in the rest of Europe by 2020. All other markets are set to follow shortly afterwards.
There is also the EQ Boost technology for the electrification of modern combustion engines through the integration of a 48-volt on-board electrical system. The integrated or belt-driven starter/alternator, depending on engine variant, is responsible for hybrid functions such as Boost or Recuperation, while allowing fuel savings that were previously reserved for high-voltage hybrid technology. In addition to reducing consumption and CO2, the technology enhances comfort and performance.
EQ encapsulates all the electric know-how of Mercedes-Benz Cars. Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, at the EQC world premiere: “The electric powertrain is an important component in the mobility of the future. Accordingly, we are investing more than ten billion euros in new EQ products in the next few years, and more than one billion in battery production.” Battery-electric models are set to account for 15-25 percent of total unit sales at Mercedes-Benz Cars by 2025, depending on customer preferences and the development of the public infrastructure.
Carbon footprint: keeping an eye on everything
Vehicle development and production requires high expenditure by its very nature. Here the growth in electric mobility presents the automotive industry with new challenges. As a premium manufacturer, Mercedes-Benz aspires to develop products that are particularly environmentally compatible in their market segments. All available means have to be used for this. From the environmentally and socially compatible reduction in the use of raw materials to production and process technologies that are easy on the environment to recycling or remanufacturing: the company adopts a holistic approach and considers vehicle emissions and resource consumption over the entire lifecycle right from the start.
Sustainability is the clincher
Only an analysis of the vehicles’ entire lifecycle provides a realistic picture of the electric drive’s lifecycle assessment (LCA). This reveals the following: The lifecycle assessment (LCA) of the plug-in hybrids is already positive with respect to CO2 emissions. Despite the much higher expenditure during the production phase, the plug-in hybrid can substantially reduce CO2 emissions over its entire lifecycle and, in the best-case scenario, accounts for around 45 percent of the total emissions. This more than compensates for the extra ‘investment’ of CO2 emissions during production.
EQ Power: plug-in hybrids represent a key technology
The market launch of the third-generation plug-in hybrids is another step within the Mercedes-Benz electric initiative. They offer customers the benefits of two worlds: in town they run in all-electric mode, while on long journeys they benefit from the range of the combustion engine. They make the vehicle more efficient overall because they can firstly recover energy and secondly allow the combustion engine to run in favourable operating ranges. EQ Power is also a guarantee of exceptional dynamism. Models currently on the road to series production:
The Mercedes-Benz C 300 de as Saloon or Estate (combined fuel consumption 1.6 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions 42 g/km, combined electrical consumption 19.1-18.7 kWh/100 km) is a particularly dynamic example of third-generation plug-in-hybrid technology from Mercedes-Benz. It is combined with the highly sophisticated OM 654 four-cylinder diesel engine for the first time in the C-Class. The system output is 225 kW/306 hp. The result is a vehicle that can cover a distance of up to 57 km (NEDC) on electric power alone with zero local emissions. What’s more, the combination of diesel engine and electric motor offers outstanding motoring comfort, exceptional pulling power and high efficiency thanks to the 9G-TRONIC 9-speed hybrid transmission. Delivery of the first models is scheduled for mid-2019.
The Mercedes-Benz E 300 e Saloon (combined fuel consumption 2.0 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions 45 g/km, combined electrical consumption 14.5 kWh/100 km) and the E 300 de Saloon and Estate (combined fuel consumption 1.6 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions 44-41 g/km, combined electrical consumption 19.7-18.7 kWh/100 km) are aimed at an important target group for Mercedes-Benz’s comfortable executive cars: frequent drivers who firstly attach importance to long-distance comfort but secondly want to drive with zero emissions in inner-city areas, for example. Another advantage of the Mercedes-Benz E‑Class plug-in hybrids is a high towing capacity of up to 2100 kg if required.
The Mercedes-Benz S 560 e (combined fuel consumption 2.6-2.5 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions 59-57 g/km, combined electrical consumption 20.2-20.0 kWh/100 km) was the first model in which the technology of the current plug-in-hybrid generation made its debut. The modified components and the intelligent powertrain management’s new anticipatory functions give the customer enhanced electric performance and, last but not least, added convenience thanks to faster charging times. The efficiency of the 9G-TRONIC plug-in-hybrid transmission and a new lithium-ion battery in the luxury saloon are good for an all-electric range of up to 50 kilometres in the NEDC. The hybrid drive system in the S 560 e combines the 270 kW (367 hp) of the V6 petrol engine with 90 kW of EQ Power.
Predictive driving for economy: here the assistance system ECO Assist comprehensively supports the driver of the Mercedes-Benz EQ and EQ Power models by giving prompts when it is appropriate to come off the accelerator, e.g. because the vehicle is approaching a speed limit, and through functions such as ‘gliding’ and specific recuperation control. For this purpose, navigation data, traffic sign recognition and information from the intelligent safety assistants (radar and stereo camera) are linked and processed. For the first time, this involves the thermal balance of the combustion engine and exhaust aftertreatment functions such as regeneration of the diesel particulate filter also being controlled in such a way as to minimise consumption and emissions based on the travel distance.
The technical data for the plug-in-hybrid models at a glance:
|C 300 de||E 300 e||E 300 de||S 560 e|
|Number of cylinders/arrangement/type||4/in-line/diesel||4/in-line/petrol||4/in-line/diesel||6/V/petrol|
|Rated output of combustion engine (kW/hp at rpm)||143/194 at 3800||155/211 at 5500||143/194 at 3800||270/367 at 5500-6000|
|Rated torque of combustion engine (Nm at rpm)||400 at 1600-2800||350 at 1200-4000||400 at 1600-2800||500 at 1800-4500|
|Rated output of electric motor (kW)||90||90||90||90|
|System output (kW/hp)||225/306||235/320||225/306||350/476|
|System torque (Nm)||700||700||700||700|
|Acceleration 0-100 km/h (s)||5.6 (5.7)||5.7||5.9||5.0|
|Top speed (km/h)||250||250||250||250|
|Top speed, electric (km/h)||over 130||over 130||over 130||over 130|
|Combined fuel consumption from (l/100 km)||1.6-1.4 (1.6-1.5)||2.0||1.6||2.6-2.5|
|Combined CO2 emissions from (g/km)||42-38 (42-39)||45||44-41||59-57|
|Total battery capacity (kWh)||13.5||13.5||13.5||13.5|
|Combined electrical consumption (kWh/100 km)||18.7 (19.1)||14.5||18.7 (19.7)||20.2-20.0|
|Electric range (km)||up to 57 (56)||50||up to 54 (52)||up to 50|