Mercedes-Benz showed the way ahead in environmentally responsible electromobility by presenting its near-series Concept BlueZERO at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit`2009. Based on a single vehicle architecture, this intelligent, modular concept allows three models with different drive configurations, all of which are able to meet customer requirements in terms of sustainable mobility:
- the BlueZERO E-CELLwith battery-electric drive and a range of up to 200 kilometers (124 miles) using electric drive alone
- the BlueZERO F-CELL (fuel cell) with a range of well over 400 kilometers (249 miles) using electric drive
- the BlueZERO E-CELL PLUS with electric drive and additional internal combustion engine as power generator (range extender). This version has an overall range of up to 600 kilometers (373 miles) and can cover a distance of up to 100 kilometers (62 miles) using electric drive alone.
The three BlueZERO variants are based on the unique sandwich-floor architecture which Mercedes-Benz introduced some ten years ago, initially for the A-Class and then for the B-Class, one of the aims being to integrate alternative drive systems. Advantages of the modified construction include the positive effect of the major drive components on the centre of gravity, their space-saving design, and the fact that they are extremely well protected within the vehicle underbody. The five-seater BlueZERO concept cars also set standards in terms of lightweight design, interior layout, and body form.“The flexible BlueZERO concept allows electromobility for every requirement and highlights the fact that Mercedes-Benz is the world’s only car manufacturer to already have in place all the key technologies for electric cars offering full everyday practicality,” says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
The BlueZERO principle: flexible design, compact exterior, and generously sized interiorAll three BlueZERO variants share the same key technical components, while the design and vehicle dimensions are identical. Measuring just 4.22 meters in length (13.84 ft), the BlueZERO models combine compact exterior dimensions with a generously proportioned and variable interior and luggage compartment. Five fully-fledged seats, a payload of around 450 kilograms (1000 lbs), and a luggage compartment capacity of over 500 liters (18 cubic feet) make for outstanding everyday practicality. Thanks to their sandwich construction with a raised sitting position, the cars also offer an exceptionally high level of crash safety for the passengers and the technology, not to mention excellent all-round visibility.Compared to electric cars based on conventional vehicle platforms and originally only designed for use in combination with internal combustion engines, Concept BlueZERO offers the following conclusive advantages:
- Interior space is retained in full. As the energy accumulators/generators are integrated into the spacious sandwich floor, no compromises are necessary with respect to passenger space, luggage capacity, or variability.
- The powertrain technology built into the sandwich floor ensures a low centre of gravity and, consequently, extremely reliable and agile handling.
- Crash safety is of the extremely high standard associated with Mercedes thanks to the sandwich concept and the housing of major powertrain components between the axles.
As a result, the BlueZERO models are very different to conventionally constructed electric cars, which have the heavy and voluminous storage battery housed in the boot or in the rear-seat area, for example.