Mercedes reconfirms plans for more than ten different electric vehicles by 2022. In addition to developing a modular family of vehicles, there will be a comprehensive ecosystem that includes the required charging infrastructure.
“All systems are go. We are investing more than ten billion euros in the development of our EQ vehicle portfolio alone,” says Ola Källenius who has been responsible for Daimler Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development since the start of the year. “By 2022 we will be bringing more than ten different all-electric vehicles to market. We will also be electrifying the entire Mercedes‑Benz portfolio and our customers will thus have the choice of at least one electric alternative in every Mercedes‑Benz model series, taking the total to 50 overall.”
When it comes to the future of mobility, Daimler is relying on different technologies continuing to coexist. These are optimally tailored to the particular customer needs and vehicle models. Ola Källenius: “We are placing our emphasis on highly efficient high-tech combustion engines, systematic hybridisation and battery-electric or fuel-cell drive systems. Our approach is deliberately broad in view of our extensive vehicle portfolio and our customers’ mobility requirements.”
Road #1: Electric pioneer
One important step is the development of a multi-model electric vehicle architecture for battery-powered vehicles. The first series-produced model from the new EQ product brand, the EQC, is set to be produced at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen from 2019.
With the Concept EQA at the IAA International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Mercedes-Benz demonstrated how the EQ strategy can be translated to the compact class. Featuring one electric motor on the front axle and one at the rear, this electric athlete has a system output of over 200 kW. The drive characteristics can be altered by varying the permanent all-wheel drive’s front to rear torque distribution. The Concept EQA shows which drive program has been selected on a unique virtual radiator grille.
With the GLC F-CELL pre-production vehicles, Daimler is also sending out a clear signal regarding the future of fuel cell technology. The vehicles unveiled at the IAA represent a world first in which a fuel-cell-operated electric car uses a lithium-ion battery as an additional energy source. This can be externally charged by means of plug-in technology. Through intelligent interplay, the two energy sources drive the electric motor while offering driving pleasure with zero local emissions. Other advantages of these family-friendly electric vehicles of high everyday practicality are the long range, short refuelling times, an output of 147 kW (200 hp) and the latest generation of assistance systems with drive-specific features.
For commercial vehicles too, in future there will be locally emission-free electric drive systems available in all segments: the FUSO eCanter for light-duty distribution haulage in Europe, Asia and America and the electric Mercedes-Benz truck for heavy-duty distribution haulage. In the USA, Daimler Trucks North America is working on an electric Freightliner eCascadia for long-distance haulage. In 2018 the first battery-electric city bus will enter series production.
Mercedes-Benz Vans is developing fully electrically powered Vito and Sprinter model series vans. Their first partner is already confirmed in the shape of logistics company Hermes.
Road #2: The extensive range of plug-in hybrids is further expanded
Plug-in hybrids represent a key technology on the road to a locally emission-free future for the motor vehicle. This is because they offer customers the best of both worlds; in the city they can drive in fully electric mode, while on long journeys they benefit from the combustion engine’s range. To underline the important role of hybrids in the process of electrifying the car, the plug-in models from Mercedes-Benz will, in future, bear the EQ Power technology badge.
Because the strengths of plug-in hybrids come to the fore in larger vehicles and on mixed route profiles, Mercedes-Benz is opting for this powertrain concept from the C-Class upwards. The strategic hybrid initiative is decisively facilitated by Mercedes-Benz’s intelligent, modular hybrid concept: designed to be scalable, it can be transferred to a large number of model series and body styles as well as left and right-hand-drive variants.
Following the C 350 e* (saloon, estate and long-wheelbase version for the Chinese market), GLE 500 e 4MATIC*, GLC 350 e 4MATIC*, GLC Coupé 350 e 4MATIC* and E 350 e*, the new S 560 e* (*combined fuel consumption: 3.3–2.1 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions: 78–48 g/km, combined electrical consumption: 16.7–11.0 kWh/100 km), and successor to the S 500 e, is already the eighth plug-in model that Mercedes-Benz is bringing to market.
The hybrid drive system in the S 560 e combines the 270 kW (367 hp) of the V6 petrol engine with an electric output of 90 kW. The third-generation hybrid transmission evolved on the basis of the 9G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission. The torque converter, clutch and electric motor are housed in the innovative hybrid drive unit. The compact design was achieved by integrating and connecting the separating clutch, torsional vibration damper and torque converter lockup clutch within the rotor of the electric motor. The torque converter with its powerful and highly efficient hydraulic circuit offers the customary smoothness when pulling away in hybrid mode.
In addition, the Citaro hybrid sees Mercedes-Benz opening a new chapter in drive systems for city buses. For the first time worldwide, hybrid technology is available as special equipment for an extraordinarily broad range of city buses with diesel and petrol engines rather than for distinct models. In this way, numerous models benefit from the advantages. In conjunction with the equally new electrohydraulic steering system, the Citaro hybrid’s drive system reduces the fuel consumption of a bus already known for its efficiency by up to a further 8.5 percent depending on the application and vehicle specification.
Road #3: High-efficiency internal combustion engines
Mercedes-Benz attaches key importance to the optimisation of modern, internal combustion engines in its road map to sustainable mobility. In particular, the economical, clean and, especially in Europe, highly popular diesel engine makes an important contribution to the further reduction of fleet consumption. The new four-cylinder OM 654 diesel engine marked the début of a groundbreaking family of engines from Mercedes-Benz. It is the first passenger car diesel engine to use the stepped-bowl combustion process – named after the shape of the combustion bowl in the piston.
The innovations also include the combination of aluminium engine block and steel pistons as well as the further-improved NANOSLIDE® cylinder wall coating. The new four-cylinder OM 654 celebrated its world première in the E 220 d (combined fuel consumption: 3.9 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions: 102 g/km) from the new E-Class in spring 2016. The new engine consumes around 13 percent less fuel than its predecessor in a comparable vehicle.
The new six-cylinder in-line diesel engine was premièred in two output classes: The Mercedes-Benz S 350 d has an output of 210 kW (286 hp) and 600 Nm (combined fuel consumption: 5.1 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 134 g/km). The S 400 d with 250 kW (340 hp) and 700 Nm is the most powerful series-production car diesel engine ever offered by Mercedes-Benz (combined fuel consumption: 5.2 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 135 g/km).
The new petrol engines featuring six or four cylinders point the way into the combustion engine’s future: They include trailblazing technologies such as the starter alternator (EQ Boost), 48-volt on-board electrical system and electrical booster compressor (six-cylinder).
The new, systematically electrified, in-line six-cylinder engine comes to the starting line in two output levels. In the Mercedes-Benz S 450 (also as a 4MATIC model) it generates 270 kW (367 hp) and 500 Nm of torque (combined fuel consumption: 6.6 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 150 g/km). The S 500 has an output of 320 kW (435 hp) and 520 Nm (combined fuel consumption: 6.6 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 150 g/km). Over a short period, EQ Boost, a feature of the integrated starter alternator, makes a further 250 Nm of torque and 16 kW of output available. Compared with the similarly powerful S 500 predecessor featuring a V8 engine, it has been possible to reduce the CO2 emissions of the engine by around 22 percent.
Next to make its début is the new generation of the four-cylinder petrol engine (M 264) with a power-to-swept-volume ratio of well over 100 kW per litre. The use of a belt-driven starter alternator with a 48-volt on-board electrical system also marks a further step towards the electrification of the drive system and facilitates functions such as boost, coasting with the engine off and recuperation.
Like the six-cylinder engine, the new eight-cylinder engine celebrated its première in the S-Class. The new twin turbo assembly is among the world’s most economical V8 petrol engines and consumes up to six percent less fuel than its predecessor. In efforts to lower the fuel consumption, four cylinders of the new V8 are deactivated simultaneously under partial load thanks to the CAMTRONIC valve-lift adjustment system. The new V8 generates 345 kW (469 hp) and 700 Nm and it is available as the Mercedes-Benz S 560 (combined fuel consumption: 8.5–7.9 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 195–181 g/km) and Mercedes-Maybach S 560 (combined fuel consumption: 9.3–8.8 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 209–198 g/km).
Full network of charging stations
Intelligently networked charging solutions form an integral part of the Mercedes-Benz Cars electromobility initiative, as customer acceptance of electric mobility is closely associated with the availability of a comprehensive infrastructure. Whether at home via a wallbox charging system, while shopping, at work or on the street, the possibilities for powering electric vehicles are already very diverse nowadays. From 2018, direct current charging based on the CCS (Combined Charging System) standard will gradually find its way into the electric vehicles from Mercedes-Benz. Daimler has a broad range of collaborative partnerships in this area.
Daimler AG is planning a joint venture to establish an ultra-fast, high-performance charging network with power levels up to 350 kW along major traffic routes in Europe in conjunction with the BMW Group, the Ford Motor Company and the Volkswagen Group with Audi and Porsche. Construction starts in 2017 and initially approximately 400 sites are planned in Europe.
Under the charge@Daimler project, the company is bringing together its activities to build up intelligent charging infrastructure at all its sites in Germany. Right now employees at Daimler locations in 24 German cities have access to extensive charging solutions. By the end of 2018 the network will extend to more than 2000 charging points.
In spring 2017 Daimler AG became lead investor in the US charging solution provider ChargePoint Inc. The aim of this strategic investment is to significantly expand the portfolio in the area of intelligent charging solutions and to provide customers with an all-embracing, premium electromobility service.