Executive saloons have been known for years to be fuel guzzlers. However thanks to environmental lobbyists and various government institutions many car makers have resulted in using hybrid technology in their cars. Hybrid cars combine the benefits of an electric motor together with a small combustion engine. The result is excellent fuel economy and less environmental pollution.
|Mercedes E300 BlueTEC Hybrid|
With this in mind Mercedes engineers have developed an all new Mercedes E-Class hybrid saloon that is not only fuel efficient but also remains as luxurious as a normal executive saloon. To create the new E300 BlueTEC HYBRID, Mercedes combined a 2.2litre four-cylinder engine with an electric motor. The engine has an output of 204hp while the electric motor has an output of 27hp bringing the total output of the saloon to 231hp.
The electric motor is placed between the internal combustion engine and the 7-speed automatic transmission. The electric motor helps the diesel engine to accelerate more quickly and also helps to recuperate braking energy.
|Classy rear look|
It can also be used to drive the vehicle independently without the need of the diesel engine. The hybrid is so efficient that it only needs 4.2litres of fuel to cover 100kilometers. This makes it the most fuel efficient luxury model saloon ever made. The car is such a great achievement in hybrid technology it has already begun winning awards from environmental agencies.
Its space-saving installation in the engine compartment in place of the conventional starter battery means that the generous interior dimensions and the luggage compartment capacity remain unchanged. In addition to serving as an energy accumulator for the electric motor, the lithium-ion battery is also connected via the voltage converter to the 12V on-board electrical system, which supplies power to standard power-consuming devices such as the headlamps and the comfort features.
Sophisticated packaging means that numerous hybrid-specific components such as the high-performance electronics in the engine compartment can be directly incorporated with the internal combustion engine, thus neatly rounding off the modularity concept: the hybrid models can be produced on the same assembly line as their conventional counterparts without needing to be diverted elsewhere. Another plus point of the overall concept is the scalability and compatibility with other vehicles and engines.
To improve comfort and efficiency, the E300 BlueTEC HYBRID comes with numerous functions. When the car is stationary and ECO start/stop system switches of the internal combustion engine. The engine can also be switched off when coasting on the overrun at speeds of up to 160 km/h.
|2.2litre four cylinder engine|
The combustion engine shuts down and the desired speed is maintained by the electric motor alone until the battery needs recharging. This is possible since functions such as steering; brakes and refrigerant compressor operate electrically. At the two scenarios the engine can be restarted quickly, smoothly and without any noise. When parking the vehicle switches to electric mode only and resumes back to a hybrid when driving at speeds above 35km/h.
|Hybrid power plant|
Electricity from the battery can be used to accelerate the car from standstill until the car requires more power where the engine is turned on. The electric motor alone has 250Nm of torque. When overtaking, the electric motor is used to give the car more boost ensuring quick acceleration when overtaking.
When the car is being driven at a constant speed, the engine control unit shifts the operating points towards exceptionally low specific fuel consumption levels. Integration of the hybrid systems without any body modifications has the practical benefit of not restricting spaciousness in any way, as well as ensuring that all hybrid models boast exactly the same high level of safety as their counterparts with an internal combustion engine.
The new Mercedes E300 BlueTEC HYBRID will be available as a saloon or estate version. The car also marks the final chapter of the current Mercedes E Class models as a new updated model is set for a world premier from next year.
|Teaser for the next Mercedes E-Class|
The car is on sale now at a price of € 51,794.75 (Kshs. 5.8 million excl. taxes) for the Saloon and € 55007.75 (Kshs. 6.2 million excl. taxes) for the Estate version.