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Sunday, May 11, 2008
Mercedes-Benz F700 Hybrid Sedan
Image: courtesy of Daimler AG

New Mercedes-Benz F700 Hybrid - Fuel Economy

When Daimler started their development work on the Mercedes-Benz F700 Hybrid Research Car their mission was to do more with less. What they wanted was outstanding luxury with exceptional fuel economy and low emissions. Looking at the finished F700, which is just slightly shorter than the current Mercedes-Benz S-Class, you might think that it had a V-8 or V-12 engine, but instead, Daimler's engineers have designed a very sophisticated gasoline-electric hybrid 1.8 L 4 cylinder two-stage turbo charged engine to power the F700 sedan. This powertrain achieves a remarkable 5.3 litres per 100 kilometres or 44.3 mpg and the F700 Research Car emits just 127 grams per kilometre of CO2, which is just 15 grams more than a standard Smart Car.

Although the F700 is a very large car, Mercedes-Benz can also scale this hybrid technology down to their future mid-size and compact luxury vehicles and power them using it as well. Mercedes-Benz have called this drive system DIESOTTO technology for the efficiency of diesel with the performance characteristics of gasoline. Mercedes-Benz has achieved the F700's efficiency using both the turbo charging and also a hybrid module that incorporates a lithium ion energy storage battery, a 15kW (20 hp) electric motor, and regenerative braking for charging the battery. The F700 has impressive performance for its economy with a 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) acceleration time of 7.5 seconds and a top speed of 200 km/h (124 mph).

Daimler AG may also follow the industry trend towards zero emissions plug in hybrids that can travel short commutes on electric power alone and return home to be charged. Prospective buyers will be looking for luxury performance with low petroleum energy utilisation, so increasing both the storage capacity of the onboard battery and the power output of the hybrid electric motor may need to be incorporated into the new Mercedes-Benz hybrid production models.

It is probable that within three years the leading hybrid manufacturers like Toyota/Lexus will be offering plug-in capability for their hybrids as either standard equipment or an option, and even solar charging on the roof and rear storage areas of some models. For the premium car buyer of the future, absolute luxury combined with industry leading technology efficiency will be what the customer wants to demonstrate to their peers and Mercedes-Benz appears to be on track to deliver this with their work on the F700.

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