Mercedes-Benz is massively picking up the pace with regard to the electrification of the automobile. By 2022, the entire Mercedes-Benz Cars product range is set to be electrified. This means that different electrified alternatives will be available in every segment – from smart to large SUV (in the picture: Mercedes-Benz GLC F-CELL (combined hydrogen consumption 0.34 kg/100 km, combined CO₂ emissions 0 g/km, weighted electrical consumption 13.7 kWh/100 km)²).
There are plans for well in excess of 130 electrified vehicle variants, from 48-volt models to a wide range of plug-in hybrids to all-electric vehicles. The electric initiative is subsumed under the new technology and product brand EQ. EQ stands for "Electric Intelligence" and draws its strength from the two central Mercedes-Benz values: emotion and intelligence.
The first new third-generation plug-in hybrids labelled EQ Power are being delivered to customers now and over the coming months. Mercedes-Benz is initially using this type of powertrain in the C-Class, E-Class and S-Class. The 13.5 kWh battery in the hybrid vehicles is paired with either a petrol engine or, for the first time, a diesel engine. Another world first is the combination of plug-in-hybrid technology with a fuel cell in the new Mercedes-Benz GLC F-CELL (combined hydrogen consumption 0.34 kg/100 km, combined CO₂ emissions 0 g/km, weighted electrical consumption 13.7 kWh/100 km)².
And Mercedes unveiled the precursor to its new EQ brand just a few weeks ago with the world premiere of the Mercedes-Benz EQC (combined electrical consumption 20,8 – 19,7 kWh/100 km; combined CO₂ emissions 0 g/km)**. By 2022, the EQ car family will include several more battery-electric models. The smart brand is going all out when it comes to electric mobility: smart is the first car brand with its sights set on a complete switchover from combustion engines to electric drive. All new smart cars sold in the USA, Canada and Norway since 2017 have electric drive, and this will also be the case in the rest of Europe by 2020. All other markets are set to follow shortly afterwards.
There is also the EQ Boost technology for the electrification of modern combustion engines through the integration of a 48-volt on-board electrical system. The integrated or belt-driven starter/alternator, depending on engine variant, is responsible for hybrid functions such as Boost or Recuperation, while allowing fuel savings that were previously reserved for high-voltage hybrid technology. In addition to reducing consumption and CO₂, the technology enhances comfort and performance.
Carbon footprint: keeping an eye on everything
Vehicle development and production requires high expenditure by its very nature. Here the growth in electric mobility presents the automotive industry with new challenges. As a premium manufacturer, Mercedes-Benz aspires to develop products that are particularly environmentally compatible in their market segments. All available means have to be used for this. From the environmentally and socially compatible reduction in the use of raw materials to production and process technologies that are easy on the environment to recycling or remanufacturing: the company adopts a holistic approach and considers vehicle emissions and resource consumption over the entire lifecycle right from the start.
Sustainability is the clincher
Only an analysis of the vehicles' entire lifecycle provides a realistic picture of the electric drive's lifecycle assessment (LCA). This reveals the following: The lifecycle assessment (LCA) of the plug-in hybrids is already positive with respect to CO₂ emissions. Despite the much higher expenditure during the production phase, the plug-in hybrid can substantially reduce CO₂ emissions over its entire lifecycle and, in the best-case scenario, accounts for around 45 percent of the total emissions. This more than compensates for the extra 'investment' of CO₂ emissions during production.
EQ Power: plug-in hybrids represent a key technology
The market launch of the third-generation plug-in hybrids is another step within the Mercedes-Benz electric initiative. They offer customers the benefits of two worlds: in town they run in all-electric mode, while on long journeys they benefit from the range of the combustion engine. They make the vehicle more efficient overall because they can firstly recover energy and secondly allow the combustion engine to run in favourable operating ranges. EQ Power is also a guarantee of exceptional dynamism.
Charging options: flexible, fast, uncomplicated
Whether at home via a wallbox, while shopping, at work or ultra-fast on the motorway: there are various ways to supply electric vehicles with power. Intelligently networked charging solutions focussed on the mobility and convenience needs of customers are an integral part of the new product and technology brand EQ. Each Mercedes-Benz and smart electric vehicle is equipped with charging technology that is suitable for the vehicle concept and intended purpose.
As standard, the Mercedes-Benz plug-In hybrids, the GLC F-CELL and the EQC are equipped with a water-cooled on-board charger (OBC) with an output of 7.4 kW, which makes them suitable for two-phase alternating current (AC) charging at home and at public charging stations. The smart brand's EQ models have a 4.6 kW on-board charger as standard, and can optionally be equipped with a particularly efficient AC quick-charger with a charging capacity of 22 kW.
Greater quick-charging options: Following the EQC market launch, Mercedes me Charge also allows access to the quick-charging stations of the pan-European network IONITY among others. The network uses the European Combined Charging System (CCS) charging standard. The charging capacity of up to 350 kW per charging point will make much shorter charging times possible for appropriately designed vehicles compared with currently available systems.
Electric transport: Trucks, Buses and Vans also hooking up to the mains
Daimler has been gaining experience with electric trucks since 2010 already and since last year has the first all-electric production truck on the market and in customer hands: the light-duty Fuso eCanter truck. In the bus segment, the first Mercedes-Benz eCitaro models will start deliveries at the end of the year and will enter real-life operations in so-called customer-centric vehicle testing. In the van segment, the eVito from Mercedes-Benz Vans has been available to order since November 2017. The eSprinter will follow in 2019. And in August 2018 the "Concept Sprinter F-CELL" study showed how the hydrogen technology of the GLC F-CELL could be implemented for a camper van. The vehicles from Daimler Trucks, Daimler Buses and Mercedes-Benz Vans thus cover all urban transport with electric vehicles. And on 17 September, Mercedes-Benz Trucks started practical testing of its all-electric heavy-duty eActros truck. All in all, 20 customers from different industries will integrate the electric truck into their fleet.
¹ Figures for electrical consumption and CO₂ emissions are provisional and were determined by the Technical Service. The range figures are also provisional. The EC type approval and a certificate of conformity with official figures are not yet available. Differences between the stated figures and the official figures are possible.
² Figures for fuel consumption, electrical consumption and CO₂ emissions are provisional and were determined by the technical service for the certification process in accordance with the WLTP test method and correlated into NEDC figures. The EC type approval and a certificate of conformity with official figures are not yet available. Differences between the stated figures and the official figures are possible.