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Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Mercedes-Benz BlueZERO
Image: © 2009 Daimler AG

Auto China 2009 - Mercedes-Benz Shows Its BlueZERO Electric Car

SHANGHAI, CHINA - Mercedes-Benz introduced their production-ready BlueZERO E-CELL Concept electric car to the 2009 Auto Shanghai in China last week (April 20-28). The BlueZERO E-CELL is a next-generation modular car that Mercedes-Benz has designed to have three different powertrain combinations, and the F-CELL and the E-CELL PLUS are the other powertrain alternatives. The BlueZERO modular platform represents the upcoming design ideas that Daimler AG, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, will be introducing to their dealership showrooms in the future.

The Mercedes-Benz BlueZERO E-CELL is the all-electric battery version of the BlueZERO chassis platform, and it has a range of 200 kms (125 miles) off its lithium-ion battery pack. The second version is the BlueZERO F-CELL, which has a hydrogen fuel cell engine powering an all-electric drive, with a vehicle driving range of 400 kms (250 miles) on a full charge of hydrogen. The final version is called the E-CELL PLUS, which is a hybrid and uses a 1.0L gasoline (petrol) engine that acts as a generator in combination with a small lithium ion battery pack. The E-CELL PLUS can drive 100 kms (62 miles) on battery power alone, and an additional 500 kms using the internal combustion engine for a total range of 600 kms (375 miles).

The BlueZERO car in either E-CELL, F-CELL, or E-CELL PLUS configurations, uses the same vehicle body and interior trim and seats 5 passenger comfortably. Mercedes-Benz has incorporated very light weight design in the BlueZERO, and provided optimum cabin space by placing the drivetrain components all under the floor. Mercedes-Benz has termed this chassis design as sandwich construction, which provides for extra cabin space, and the ability to carry up to 450 kgs (990 lbs) of payload capacity. The BlueZERO has a total length of 4.22 metres or 13 feet 10 inches.

The Mercedes-Benz BlueZERO models are front-wheel drive and all use various sizes of Mercedes-Benz high technology liquid cooled lithium-ion battery packs of up to 35 kWh of storage for either primary power or as supplementary power. Motive power on the BlueZERO is provided by a single electric motor with 100kW maximum output power and 70 kW of continuous power with a peak torque of 320 Nm. The BlueZERO has impressive 20 inch low rolling resistance tires, each having a side wall that blends into the alloy rim for improved aerodynamics.

Daimler AG has indicated that they will start producing a limited quantity of Mercedes-Benz production fuel cell cars this year (2009) and these will be based upon the current Mercedes-Benz B-Class chassis platform. In 2010 Mercedes-Benz will start to produce electric lithium-ion battery powered cars in small quantities for sale in targeted development markets.

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