Mercedes Lithiom-Ion Breakthrough

Posted by: David Kiley on March 3, 2008

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Mercedes-Benz says it has achieved a breakthrough in automotive battery development, saying it will use lithium-ion technology in its next S400 BlueHybrid scheduled to go on sale in Europe in the middle of 2009. U.S. sales are set to follow in Fall 2009.

The gasoline-electric hybrid would become the first series-production road car to rely on lithium-ion batteries for the storage of energy.

Making lithiom-ion batteries robust enough is the challenge facing companies like General Motors and Toyota. GM has announced that it will put a lithium-ion-based plug-in hybrid Saturn Vue on the market in 2010. GM also plans to use lithium-ion batteries to power its electric vehicles based on the Volt concept car.

GM plans to deliver its electric cars, which store power in batteries that are charged by plugging into the power grid via AC outlets, or by using small onboard gasoline or diesel engines or fuel cells to generate onboard power in 2010. GM’s aim is to have vehicles that can travel between 30-40 miles on an electric charge before the gas or diesel engine would start recharging the battery.

Mercedes says the S400 BlueHybrid, powered by a 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine in combination with an electric motor will deliver a combined 299 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy of the car would be nearly 30 mpg.

Mercedes expects to foollow the S400 with a second lithium-ion hybrid, the S300 Bluetec Hybrid, which combine a 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged, four-cylinder diesel engine with an electric motor. That car will achieve almost 44 mpg.

Reader Comments

Noz

March 3, 2008 8:32 PM

Given MB's dismal reputation for reliability over the past several years, one has to wonder about this latest risky development. It has not been the mechanical components that have failed so massively, but all the electronics that others manage to do so well. Might I mention Lexus? Imagine the potential for more of the same headaches, but in spades this time rather than just ruptured hearts.

In this part of CA, there are some very large and aggressive MB dealers, and thus a lot of ill-founded sales. Further-more, the flatbed tow trucks make an really good income hauling the broken hulks back to the fancy dealerships where they are stored until someone can repair, reawaken, and return them to their grieving buyers. Fleets of loaners are just one consequence of this travesty.

Increasing the cost and complexity is not the answer to the needs of the company nor those who continue to fall for their flawed products. Soundly designed and easily assembled and repaired components make more sense, cost less both in the short and long runs. Might I mention a hallowed name: Lexus? Thus far the usual bragging rights, largely borne of Teutonic arrogance, have bought naught but problems for all concerned.

Chris

March 4, 2008 5:05 PM

Mercedes expects to foollow the S400 with a second lithium-ion hybrid,

foollow?

Gorsegrower

March 4, 2008 5:23 PM

It wasn't elegant, but my '90 Geo Metro 2-door XFI got an honest 63 mpg on the Interstate. One liter, 3 cylinders, long gears, special tires, and no mirror on the right side, nor arm rests for the driver. I loved it.

44 mpg at a Mercedes price is supposed to impress us? hah.

Still waiting

March 4, 2008 5:33 PM

Why the S Class? Those drivers typically couldn't care less about economy. Ma Benz needs to put this technology into entry level products.

Guy

March 4, 2008 7:06 PM

44 mpg sound great what is msrp and when is the suv going to be available?

Noz

March 7, 2008 11:44 AM

Herr Gorsepower,

Your Metro was neither US-designed nor made, by the way, just re-badged. Nor, of course, was it a Cheevie however much the desperate dealers tried to 'splain otherwise. In fact, it was a rolling pile of stuff of about medicine-ball size when crushed--including the occupants. Completely ill-suited for this market of monsters, but it sold. It was a thrifty little bucket, OK if one had super-low standards.

As to the comments of the others thus far, since when was spelling a talent of pundits? This is what spell-checks are all about. And of what interest is the MSRP even if 44mpg is somewhat factual? The major cost of vehicles is most often largely depreciation, not fuel purchases. At least one can control the latter. And some MBs drop like rocks in actual dollars if one bothers to work out the percentages. Not to mention the cost and aggravation of all the down-time, 'routine maintenance', etc. and so on.

J. Shaw

March 12, 2008 12:00 AM

OK, fine...but will THIS one pass the moose test??

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