The near-production Mercedes-Benz Concept BlueZero E-Cell Plus electric car is said to combine environmentally friendly electric mobility in the city with unrestricted suitability for long-distance driving. This is made possible with the combination of the electric battery drive and a combustion engine. The range extender gives the concept a total range of up to 370 miles, with some 62 miles solely under electric power.
The BlueZero E-Cell Plus is part of a family of modular electric cars, which will enable Mercedes-Benz to meet all customer requirements for sustainable mobility in the future. In this variant of the concept vehicle, the electric motor of the battery-powered BlueZero E-Cell Plus is combined with an additional three-cylinder, turbocharged gasoline engine. Putting out 50kW, the compact combustion engine is installed in the area of the rear axle and can charge the battery while the car is being driven. The CO2 bonus for the battery driving mode reduces the vehicle’s emissions to only 32 grams of CO2 per kilometer. The range extender enables the concept to drive for up to 370 miles. The long range makes the car suitable for everyday use and assures the driver will reach their destination even with a depleted battery. After all, the car can be refueled at any normal filling station.
With a rapid charging capacity of 20kW, the high-performance, 18kWh lithium-ion battery of the BlueZero E-Cell Plus can store enough power in around 30 minutes for a 30 mile cruising range. The complete electric range of 100 kilometers requires a charging time more than an hour.
Charging time is doubled with a standard charge cycle at a conventional household outlet with 3.3kW. Special on-board electronics support the intelligent charging stations and billing systems used by electric fuelling stations.
Originally presented in Detroit at the beginning of the year, the BlueZero E-Cell was propelled exclusively by battery-power that allowed the car to travel up to 125 miles on a single charge. The third drive version is a fuel-cell powered BlueZero F-Cell, with a range of about 250 miles on electric power and zero emissions.
All three BlueZERO models feature front-wheel drive. The drive components have been modularly organized and can be combined as needed. These include state-of-the-art liquid-cooled lithium-ion batteries with up to 35kWh capacity, and a compact electric motor with a maximum output of 100kW or 134hp (sustained output: 70kW). The maximum torque of 236 lb/ft is available instantly, and surpasses the value attained by today’s V6 gasoline engines at 2500rpm. Like its sister models, the BlueZero E-Cell and BlueZero F-Cell, the BlueZero E-Cell Plus can accelerate from 0-62mph in less than 11 seconds. To ensure optimum range and energy efficiency, the top speed is limited to 90mph.
“Our modular system permits different drive configurations for each customer’s requirement,” said Dr Thomas Weber from Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. “The improved sandwich floor platform serves as the perfect basis for a diverse range of vehicles with electric drive. We are currently developing an additional platform for future compact models that have drive systems using optimized internal combustion engines. The smart linking of both architectures will allow us to expand our product range in an extremely flexible and efficient manner. During 2009, we will manufacture the first small batch of Mercedes fuel cell cars. In 2010, they will be followed by a small batch of Mercedes-Benz vehicles that run solely on battery power. Thanks to these measures, we are in a excellent position for the future.”