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Division of Daimler
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The Mercedes-Benz BlueZERO concept is Mercedes' attempt at the alternative fuel vehicle movement. The BlueZERO is a flexible concept that has the ability to accommodate the three different types of future alternative fuels: electric, hybrid, and hydrogen fueled. It was first introduced at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show which took place January 11–25. It features a single vehicle architecture that accommodates three models with different electric power-train configurations, each of which are fully developed and ready for testing. The Mercedes-Benz BlueZERO electric drive system gives each model the same performance specifications for acceleration and top speed. The Mercedes-Benz BlueZERO electric drive modular design accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62.5 mph) in under 11 seconds, and the top speed is electronically governed to a maximum of 150 km/h (93.75 mph) in the interests of optimal range and energy efficiency. Peak torque is 320 Nm and as with all EVs maximum torque is available from zero rpm with torque output exceeding the figure achieved by a current V6 gasoline engine at 2500 rpm.
"The flexible BlueZERO concept allows electro-mobility for every requirement and highlights the fact that Mercedes-Benz is the world's only car manufacturer to already have in place all the key technologies for electric cars offering full everyday practicality", says Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
The BlueZERO Concept serves as a stand-alone vehicle pushing the boundaries of hybrid vehicles and also serves as a launching pad for future Mercedes-Benz hybrid vehicles.
Leading-edge technology is uniformly and attractively packaged in all three BlueZERO variants. The unique and distinctive Mercedes design idiom displayed by the body highlights the progressive nature of Concept BlueZERO straight away. The powerfully elegant front end is dominated by the radiator grille with its centrally located star. The excellent aerodynamics of the BlueZERO are partly due to the closed front apron, whose design means that cooling air intakes are not required. The 20-inch wheels have also been aerodynamically optimized, while low-friction tires reduce rolling resistance. The striking character lines along the flanks lend the BlueZERO an extremely dynamic side line and accentuate its nature inspired structure. Some argue that Mercedes took a page from the BMW styling handbook with its bionic look.
The compact rear end of the Concept BlueZERO is characterized by its curvy tail lights. The Mercedes designers have also achieved a new-quality light production: transparent lenses that produce a red light curtain which tapers smoothly towards the sides, creating a lightly diffused effect. This effect is repeated in white by the front headlamps. What's more, the front lights feature new lens technology and a plexiglas edge to produce "C" shaped daytime driving lights with the help of state-of-the-art LED headlamp technology.
Translucent surfaces make the normally concealed technology visible. The light-grey tailgate is made completely from lightweight but highly robust Polycarbonate that allows a view of the aluminium structure that makes up the rigidifying frame, for example. At the same time this transparent tailgate provides a view of the vehicle interior, making the advantages of the sandwich-floor platform obvious at a glance: for maximum customer benefit, the luggage compartment and passenger area remain fully usable, since there are no technical components that need to be accommodated here.
The BlueZERO concept is based on a single architecture, a sandwich-floor architecture, which allows all of the drive components to be located on this sandwich floor design. This makes it possible to obtain a low center of mass and also leaves ample trunk and interior space. No compromises are made when it comes to passenger space or luggage capacity. With all the major power-train components located between the axles, the BlueZERO has achieved an extremely high passenger safety standard which is commonly associated with Mercedes.
- Design and vehicle dimensions are identical, 13.8 feet (4.2 m) in length, a payload of 1000 lbs. and a luggage compartment of over 17.6 cubic feet.
BlueZERO F-Cell is the fuel cell vehicle version. The F-cell would contain a fuel cell and most likely use a hydrogen fuel source, maintaining the green aspect of the vehicle. This will allow the vehicle to attain a 248-mile (399 km) range.
The BlueZERO F-CELL will suit communities where plans for hydrogen fuel delivery capability are at an advanced stage, like in the State of California, or in Germany and France.
Battery electric vehicles
BlueZERO E-Cell is the battery electric vehicle, with 35 kWh battery capacity (that gives an only-electric range), a compact electric motor of 100 kW (continuous output 70 kW) that is going to be produced in 2010. This all electric version has a range of 124 miles (200 km) on a single charge, which makes it ideal for city travel and running errands.
BlueZERO E-Cell Plus is a series plug-in hybrid vehicle (extended range electric vehicle), that includes an optional use gasoline engine, which is primarily used as a generator to the on-board electric motor, with a 372-mile (599 km) range on a single tank and 62-mile (100 km) only-electric range. The E-CELL PLUS features a rapid charging option with a capacity of 20 kW, enough power to allow for a 31-mile (50 km) cruising range in about 30 minutes. To achieve full electric charge, a little over an hour is needed, which will then allow the BlueZERO E-CELL PLUS to achieve its maximum range of 62 miles (100 km).
The Mercedes-Benz designers have emphasised this aspiration by introducing paint finishes in three new ALU-BEAM colours. Each of the three variants makes its individual mark: the BlueZERO E-Cell is painted in a fresh ALU-BEAM Yellow, while the BlueZERO F-Cell has ALU-BEAM Green paintwork. Confidence-oozing ALU-BEAM Orange was chosen for the BlueZERO E-Cell PLUS.
History and the Future
The BlueZERO was a joint venture partnership project between Daimler and Evonik Industries. Daimler used the battery and hybrid ideas of Evonik Industries to produce this vehicle. Mercedes is also looking into expanding upon the BlueZERO project with an updated F-Cell roadster called the B-Class and will reportedly go into production around this time. It will have its basis on the hydrogen fuel cell model that they think will power the future.
The Mercedes-Benz BlueZERO has a minimal, almost absent carbon footprint. The BlueZERO is similar to many other hybrid vehicles in the fact that it achieves lower emissions and greater fuel economy than its internal combustion engine vehicle counterparts. These environmental gains are achieved by using its electric motor and fuel cell combined to optimize peak power or fuel economy depending on the mode the car is set on. The batteries are also capable of recharging in stop and go traffic due to the on-board engine-generator in the F-Cell. The BlueZERO is also able to save energy by shutting down its electric motor when it is stopped, say at a red light.
- Efficient energy use
- List of hybrid vehicles
- List of modern production plug-in electric vehicles
- Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive
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- Webster, Larry."Mercedes Benz Concept Blue Zero Paves the Way for Alternative Powertrains: 2009 Detroit Auto Show", 1 October 2009. Retrieved on 2010-11-8.
- Philips, T."Mercedes-Benz BlueZERO E-CELL PLUS Second Look", 2 September 2009. Retrieved on 2010-11-8.
- Wojdyla, Ben."Mercedes Benz BlueZero Environmental Concepts To Debut In Detroit", 11 December 2008. Retrieved on 2010-11-8.
- Korzeniewski, Jeremy."Mercedes-Benz announces small-series production of fuel-cell B-Class", 30 April 2009. Retrieved on 2010-11-8.
- "The Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive: Electric driving without compromises". Daimler Global Media Site. Retrieved 2016-04-19.