Dec. 29, 2009
-- 2010 Mercedes-Benz S400
It’s a simple “mild hybrid” that restarts the engine after it’s switched off when stopped, as well as adding some degree of electric boost. But the new car comes with a kicker: The Mercedes-Benz S400 BlueHybrid is the very first production hybrid in the world with a battery that uses lithium ion cells, rather than the less energy-dense nickel-metal-
hydride found in every other hybrid thus far.
In Benz-speak, “blue” indicates what we might call a “green” car. (Its current concept for a zero-emissions electric vehicle is called BlueZero.) The S400 BlueHybrid is already on sale in Europe, and planned for the US later this year as a 2010 model. On the European test cycle, it achieves 30 miles per gallon (7.9 liters/100 km)—not bad for a full-size sedan weighing well over 2 tons. Claimed CO2 emissions are 190 g/km.
A 15-kW electric motor between the 275-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine and the 7-speed automatic transmission contributes torque under heavy engine loads, restarts the engine, and provides a small amount of electric energy to move the car away from stop—though “not even to 2 or 3 miles per hour,” said Christian Mordieck, the Mercedes-Benz engineer who led battery development for the car.