- Vehicles from research, development, and series production: DaimlerChrysler will demonstrate its comprehensive expertise in the field of sustainable mobility
- Fuel cells, natural gas drives, diesels, hybrids: DaimlerChrysler offers a broad range of drive systems to take on the competition
- Prof. Kohler: “The Challenge Bibendum is an ideal venue for presenting the performance capabilities of our drive system technologies.”
DaimlerChrysler will be showcasing its forward-looking drive concepts and technologies for sustainable mobility in eight vehicles at the Challenge Bibendum 2006 in Paris. As the world’s most important competition for environmentally compatible vehicles, it takes place the sixth time since 1998, with the participation of DaimlerChrysler. The event is organized by the French tire manufacturer Michelin and is directed at automakers, suppliers, energy companies, and research and development institutes from private and public sectors. Participants present advanced drive system and design concepts, as well as innovations that improve performance, comfort and safety of environmentally friendly vehicles.
The vehicles that DaimlerChrysler is presenting at the Challenge Bibendum are prime examples of the Group’s research and development activities on the road to sustainable mobility. “We have a broad range of alternative drive concepts for sustainable mobility in the future,” says Prof. Herbert Kohler, Vice President Group Research and Advanced Engineering Vehicle and Powertrain, DaimlerChrysler Chief Environmental Officer. “The Challenge Bibendum offers an ideal platform for demonstrating the performance and potential of our powertrain technologies and documenting the progress we’ve made in the area of sustainable mobility - which is why we are always happy to participate in this competition.”
Mercedes-Benz fuel cell vehicles represent the current state of development of fuel cell powertrains
Two Mercedes-Benz A-Class “F-Cell” vehicles, a B-Class “F-Cell” car, and a Mercedes-Benz Citaro bus equipped with an emission-free fuel cell drive system will represent the current state of development of this technology. More than 100 Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, buses, and vans equipped with this technology are currently being used by customers in everyday operations around the world, and they have already been driven more than two million kilometers. The very quiet, zero-emission vehicles are being used for shuttle or delivery services, and transporting passengers under various climatic and geographical conditions. “Fuel cells represent the key technology for zero-emission driving in the future, and our worldwide fleet tests are providing us with valuable information that will be used to further develop this drive technology,” says Kohler. “Our fuel cell vehicles will also distinguish themselves at our sixth appearance at the Challenge Bibendum this year.”
Mercedes-Benz bionic car: Top marks for aerodynamics, stability, light construction, and fuel economy
The Mercedes-Benz bionic car distinguishes itself through unsurpassed aerodynamics, stability and light construction. The bionic approach to technology design involves looking into biological models and applying relevant principles to technical systems. The Mercedes-Benz bionic car is based on the boxfish, whose shape displays excellent hydrodynamic properties. The boxfish’s skin consists of numerous hexagonal or polygonal bony plates that are firmly connected to one another to form what is in effect a rigid suit of armor. This design results in excellent stability, while at the same time providing the fish with great maneuverability and dynamic movement capability. It therefore became the model upon which the Mercedes-Benz bionic car, with its light and rigid bionic structure, was based. Additional highlights of the vehicle include its extraordinary design and a paint job that draws attention to the vehicle with various color tones as lighting conditions change. The bionic car’s low drag coefficient (Cd value of 0.19) contributes to the car’s good driving performance and its low fuel consumption of 4.3 liters per 100 kilometers. With this excellent fuel economy, the vehicle achieves a range of more than 1,200 kilometers in the European Driving Cycle with 54 liters of diesel fuel in the tank. With the help of a sophisticated exhaust gas purification concept, the Mercedes-Benz bionic car also sets standards in terms of emissions, achieving the lowest emissions ever. SCR (selective catalytic reduction) technology plays a particularly important role here by reducing nitrogen oxide emissions by as much as 80 percent.
Natural-gas drive: The Mercedes-Benz E 200 NGT production vehicle and the smart fortwo cng concept car
Two other vehicles - the Mercedes-Benz E 200 NGT (natural gas technology) and the smart fortwo cng (compressed natural gas) - employ a bivalent gasoline/natural gas drive system. Whereas the E-Class model is already available on the market as a production vehicle, the fortwo concept car demonstrates the future potential of this drive system for the smart brand.
The Mercedes-Benz E 200 NGT, which has been on the road in Germany since the spring of 2004, cuts CO2 emissions by more than 20 percent and operating costs by more than 50 percent. The E 200 NGT can be powered either by natural gas or unleaded premium gasoline; drivers decide for themselves which energy source they wish to use by choosing between natural-gas and gasoline with just the push of a button on the multipurpose steering wheel or in the instrument cluster’s central display. A special electronic control unit ensures a smooth transition from one energy source to the other and regulates the switchover for each individual cylinder, while an indicator in the central display informs the driver of the amount of natural gas left in the tank. Should the natural gas reserve run down, the system will automatically switch to gasoline operation without the driver or passengers noticing any change. It then switches back automatically to natural gas as soon as the gas tanks have been refilled.
The smart fortwo cng also offers the choice between natural gas and gasoline-powered operation. Depending on the mode of operation, either gasoline or natural gas is injected into the suction pipes from the gasoline tank or the natural gas tank. Thanks to the smart fortwo’s modular design, the vehicle’s underbody can accommodate both the high-pressure natural gas tank and the gasoline tank. As a result, the car’s trunk and interior remain unchanged, except for fuel gauges and a lever to switch between the two types of drive systems, both of which are located on the center console. If desired, drivers can even switch between the two types of fuel when the vehicle is in motion.
Mercedes-Benz E-Class “SunDiesel”: Contributing to sustainable mobility with second-generation synthetic fuels
A Mercedes-Benz E-Class that runs on a BtL (biomass-to-liquid) fuel known as SunDiesel demonstrates the contribution that second-generation synthetic fuels are already making to sustainable mobility. Biogenic fuels such as SunDiesel do not result in any additional carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere. When combusted, they only release the same amount of carbon dioxide that the feedstock plants absorbed during their growth. This can reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 90 percent compared to conventional diesel fuel.
Like all modern synthetic fuels, SunDiesel can either be used as the sole fuel in any diesel vehicle or as an additive to conventional diesel fuel, without any restrictions or need for technical modifications. SunDiesel is manufactured synthetically using the Fischer-Tropsch procedure, and any type of biomass can be used for its production. Its great potential for reducing CO2 and the widespread availability of the necessary raw materials allow BtL to make a key contribution to sustainable mobility. DaimlerChrysler therefore actively supports BtL fuel research and the introduction of such fuels. “We believe BtL fuels can make an important contribution to our energy supply,” says Kohler. “They can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and with their good carbon dioxide audit they can also help make mobility more environmentally compatible."
In order to promote more widespread use of synthetic fuels, DaimlerChrysler, Renault, Royal Dutch Shell, Sasol Chevron, and Volkswagen teamed up to establish the Alliance for Synthetic Fuels in Europe (ASFE) in March 2006. Within the framework of this alliance, the companies are examining the strategic significance of synthetic fuels with regard to the challenges we face in the areas of energy supply and environmental protection. All ASFE members agree that synthetic fuels have the potential to reduce the negative environmental impact of road traffic. Synthetic fuels are in fact already helping to reduce harmful emissions. And because the technology is enhanced, the significance of synthetic fuels and their share in the overall fuel mix will continue to increase. Synthetic fuels also demonstrate the economic potential of alternative fuels in general, and they are playing a key role on the road to achieving zero-emissions mobility with hydrogen-powered vehicles.
smart fortwo cdi hybrid: Combination of diesel engine and electric motor reduces fuel consumption and enhances driving pleasure
The smart fortwo cdi hybrid concept car combines a diesel drive system (30 kW) with an electric motor (20 kW). The result is a reduction in standard fuel consumption to approximately 2.9 liters per 100 kilometers. At the same time, the smart fortwo cdi hybrid shows that a hybrid drive system not only reduces fuel consumption but also offers a huge amount of additional driving pleasure.