Green Machines from Mercedes-Benz
At a recent media event in Valencia, Spain, Mercedes-Benz previewed its current and future lineup of battery electric and fuel cell vehicles. From city commuters to cargo vans and even all-out sports cars, Mercedes-Benz has a production-oriented fleet of pure electric vehicles that is arguably the most diverse in the world.
This is made possible by the use of a modular electric drive system, dubbed E-cell, which allows identical parts to be shared by and tailored to a wide range of vehicles. The electric A-Class five-door five-seater and Vito delivery van are destined for Europe only, at least for now.
But even before it arrived for the Detroit Auto Show, Mercedes confirmed plans that their wild SLS AMG E-cell electric will go into production next year. A 48-kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery pack feeds four synchronous electric motors, one for each wheel. Combined power output is 533 horsepower and 649 pound-feet of torque.
After an exclusive drive on Valecia's F1 track, we can say that it's every bit as exhilarating as the gas-powered gull wing and all the more impressive for its stealth-fighter-silent operation.
The smart ForTwo electric is already in test fleets in the U.S. And Europe, and will go on sale here for the 2012 model year.
Mercedes also showed us the latest generation of its B-Class hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. With the fuel cell and drive components sandwiched into a slightly raised floor, the B-Class F-cell retains a fully functional interior and trunk.
Driving dynamics are on par with conventional subcompact cars, while delivering a 250-mile range and 105-mile per hour top speed.
Mercedes-Benz is fully committed to developing advanced electric-drive technology--and it's certainly staging an impressive demonstration to celebrate the company's 125th anniversary.