Wednesday, March 5, 2008

First look: Eco battery first for Daimler

Benz breakthrough: S400 hybrid will hit Geneva alongside new AMG SLs.

Mercedes set to offer world's first lithium-ion hybrid production car via 2009 S400

By TERRY MARTIN



DAIMLER has made a breakthrough in battery technology, becoming the first car manufacturer to offer with "patented integration" of a lithium-ion battery into a series-produced passenger car.

The Mercedes-Benz S400 BlueHybrid will be the first to reach the market – next year, according to the company – with battery technology that offers a number of advantages over conventional nickel-metal hydride, including drastically reduced size and higher performance.

In this case, Daimler has achieved a weight/power ratio of 1900 Watts per litre for the entire battery.

"What we have here is a groundbreaking key technology that is going to be a decisive factor for the future success of the automotive industry," said Daimler board member responsible for group research and Mercedes-Benz Cars development, Thomas Weber.

"That is a tribute to our intensive research efforts, which we have been conducting in this area since 1992."

Daimler claims the breakthrough came once its engineers managed to fully integrate the lithium-ion battery in the vehicle's climate control system, which ensures that it works at optimal system temperatures of between 15°C and 35°C.

This in turn provides conditions for a long service life, high ampere-hour efficiency and reliability (even at very low temperatures).

According to Benz, the 220kW/375Nm S400 BlueHybrid consumes 7.9L/100km and produces CO2 of 190g/km – low values for this premium class and enough for the manufacturer to herald it as the "world's most economical luxury sedan – unrivalled by any gasoline, diesel or hybrid drive system offered by any competitor". It can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 7.3 seconds.

Watch out for lithium-ion being introduced soon on a Mercedes diesel hybrid, such as the S300 BlueTec Hybrid, which is believed to offer even more potential.


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