The motor car will be 125 years old next year, and the company responsible for this invention is still very much at the forefront of mobility today. Mercedes-Benz is highlighting its leading role by presenting a whole series of innovations at the Paris Motor Show – and as such is acknowledging the words of its founding father Carl Benz: "The passion for invention will never die."
"We are now witnessing the motor car being invented for the second time", explains CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche. "Innovative mobility concepts such as 'car2go' have played just as big a role in this as our eDrive products for local emission-free motoring." The future for vehicles with combustion engines is only just beginning too, according to Zetsche: "Currently we are making advances in efficiency which are unprecedented in automotive history. As the inventor of the motor car, we feel we have a very special responsibility for its future."
Advances in efficiency: V6 with 25 percent lower consumption
By way of example, Zetsche pointed to the new V6 engine generation celebrating its premiere in Paris in the Mercedes-Benz CLS 350 BlueEFFICIENCY, which consumes 25 percent less fuel than its predecessor, as well as the S 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY which sets news standards in the luxury class with an overall consumption of 5.7 litres per 100 km. In addition to such innovative engine technology as BlueDIRECT or the remarkable performance enhancements achieved in the diesel engines, other systems contributing towards the increase in efficiency include the ECO start/stop function, the enhanced 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission and optimised aerodynamics and auxiliary equipment.
Furthermore, hybrid technology has also been consistently expanded. The successful launch of the S 400 HYBRID has been quickly followed by a series of other models, including a diesel hybrid for the first time. At the same time, the combination of combustion engine and electric drive has paved the way towards completely emission-free mobility.
On the road to sustainable mobility: real solutions for electric vehicles
Mercedes-Benz has succeeded in making a widespread impact on electric mobility with its A-Class E-CELL, the family electric car suitable for everyday use in urban areas. Celebrating its world premiere at the Paris Motor Show, this fully-functional five-seater features a battery-electric drive and a range of more than 200 kilometres. Another pioneer of new urban mobility, the smart fortwo electric drive, is now already in its second generation and has been in production since November 2009. Initially limited to 1,000 units for its first production run, this figure has now been increased to 1500 examples thanks to the high demand for the vehicle. Large-scale production of the compact city runabout is due to commence from 2012.
New concepts in mobility: car2go, Paris Autolib, car2gether
The car2go mobility concept began for the public in the spring of 2009 in the German city of Ulm and was extremely successful: some 20,000 customers have taken advantage of the scheme and registered with car2go. The share of car2go customers making up the population of Ulm, meanwhile, has grown to more than 10 percent, while a third of young drivers between the ages of 18 and 35 have already received the car2go authorisation stamp on their driving licence. A good half of all customers use car2go on a regular basis, while several hundred make use of it every day. Since its launch, more than 350,000 rental transactions have been completed, mostly for a duration of between 30 and 60 minutes. Currently up to 1000 fully automatic rental transactions are recorded each day. In Austin, the capital of the US state of Texas, a second pilot trial of car2go has been running since November 2009. Soon the project is due to start in more international cities – and with the world's series production car made especially for car-sharing projects, the "smart car2go edition" with solar roof.
Thanks to car2go, Mercedes-Benz has more experience than any other car manufacturer in the integration of car-sharing projects. This knowhow, in conjunction with the smart fortwo electric drive, has enabled the company to take over the role of supplier for vehicles and technology as part of a bid by a consortium for the largest car-sharing project in and around Paris, called "Autolib" (a combination of "automobile" and "liberté"/freedom). Some 3000 electric cars are to be made available for hire at approximately 1000 charging stations located around the capital. The project is due to
start in September 2011.
In addition, for the first time at the Paris Motor Show the company will be presenting a preview of some one-off two-wheel smart vehicles. Both the smart escooter and the smart ebike are equipped with a battery-electric drive and as such make ideal vehicles for use in the city.
Furthermore, Daimler has also developed another innovative mobility concept for urban conurbations: car2gether. This system enables car-sharing rides to be notified quickly and simply online, and can be accessed either from a PC or via a mobile smartphone. This month Daimler has started trialling the system as part of a pilot project in Ulm.