Mercedes presented its BlueZero concepts in Detroit, at the North American International Auto Show where, as a flexible platform for electro-mobility solutions.
In January 2009, the Concept BlueZERO program opened a new door for Mercedes-Benz in showing the way ahead in environmentally responsible electromobility. The prototypes were based on a modular, common vehicle architecture which made three different drive configurations possible.
BlueZERO E-Cell led the way with a battery-electric drive, offering a range of up to 200 km relying solely on the electric drive.
Then there was the BlueZERO E-Cell PLUS versions, based on the same battery-electric drive system but equipped with an additional internal combustion engine which acted as a generator (range extender). As a result, the combination made a range of up to 600 km or 100 km under electric power alone.
The BlueZERO E-Cell PLUS was also equipped with the same 1.0-litre turbocharged internal-combustion engine as the smart fortwo, as an additional range extender.
The compact three-cylinder engine, installed in the rear of the vehicle, delivered a continuous output of 50 kW at an engine speed of 3,500 rpm, recharging the Li-ion battery.
The third concept was the BlueZERO F-Cell. It used a system with a fuel-cell that produced electric energy from hydrogen, enebling a range of up to 400 km with one tankfull.
All the three variants were based on the sandwich-floor architecture introduced by Mercedes-Benz in mid 1990s. Measuring 4.22 metre, the BlueZERO concepts combined compact dimensions with generous interior space.
The interior used lines which flowed curved and subtle in the organic surfaces, as Concept BlueZERO was based on bionic design principles and on the Mercedes-Benz bionic car.
The car had many coloured transparent surfaces and fluorescent glowing conductor paths in the centre console for a very elaborate, futuristic look. In addition, the high-tech atmosphere was backed by a mix between textiles and plastics combined with quality leather and other trim elements.