BLUETEC technology is making Mercedes-Benz the pioneer of a new generation of clean and powerful high-tech vehicles with highly effective exhaust gas treatment systems that give them the potential to fulfill the world’s most stringent emission limits in the future. At the same time, the basic technology for turbocharging and common-rail direct injection used in Mercedes CDI diesel engines has already proved itself in millions of vehicles in Europe.
BLUETEC ensures that diesels will continue to offer outstanding driving pleasure in the future, especially in Canada. What’s more, in view of continually rising fuel prices, BLUETEC represents the best choice for both today and tomorrow.
High Performance, High Fuel Mileage and Long Cruising Range
The Mercedes-Benz E320 BLUETEC offers outstanding driving dynamics, unprecedented efficiency and impressive environmental compatibility. Its three-litre V6 engine combines the powerful torque of a large V8 engine with the low fuel consumption of a four-cylinder compact. The E320 BLUETEC accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in just 6.7 seconds, making it one of the sportiest luxury sedans on the market.
Its tremendous torque of 400 lb-ft exceeds most V8-powered models. At the same time, the Mercedes-Benz E320 BLUETEC achieves 7.6 litres/100 km in combined cycle driving – a level of fuel efficiency normally found only in a compact car. The full-size E-Class vehicle is also environmentally friendly as a result of its excellent fuel economy and extremely low emissions.
The BLUETEC concept utilizes state-of-the-art diesel engines featuring common-rail direct injection, thereby providing all the benefits this drive system has to offer. Fuel consumption in these diesel vehicles is 20 to 40 percent lower than in cars equipped with a comparable gasoline engine, and torque — the key indicator of engine power — is 30 to 50 percent higher.
The E320 BLUETEC offers an impressive example of such attributes: its torque of 400 lb-ft gives it the power of a large V8 gasoline engine, and its acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in just 6.7 seconds is an illustration of the model’s outstanding performance. The vehicle’s combination of high torque and unbelievably good fuel economy appeals to Canadian consumers, who value good acceleration, relaxed cruising and long range (1,100 km or more) between refueling stops.
Its fuel economy rating of 5.9 litres/100 km on the highway, and 9.0 litres/100 km in the city are higher than many models in the compact class. The BLUETEC system also performs well against hybrid technology, as the standard fuel economy ratings for the Mercedes-Benz E320 BLUETEC are better than those for a hybrid of a comparable size and power.
The benefits offered by such advanced diesel engines become even more apparent in actual driving, in part because diesel fuel consumption in real-life driving generally remains very close to fuel economy ratings, and is sometimes even better – not usually the case with other drive systems. Diesels have in fact performed extremely well in comparative independent tests of diesel and hybrid vehicles conducted by journalists from automotive magazines on three different continents. In each case, whether driving straight across the U.S., Germany or Japan, the fuel consumption of diesel vehicles was significantly lower than that of hybrid cars.
New Diesel Fuel Has 97 Percent Less Sulfur
Sulfur, a natural part of crude oil, is one of the key causes of particulates. The introduction of ultra-low sulfur diesel has now made it possible to use particulate filters in Canada. What’s more, this fuel will enable efficient aftertreatment of nitrogen oxide emissions. The fuel for the world’s cleanest diesel is now available, and the Mercedes-Benz E320 BLUETEC’s ability to travel more than 1,100 km on a single tank of fuel means its drivers won’t have to go looking for fuel stations very often.
Rather than being an isolated solution, the E320 BLUETEC is a key part of DaimlerChrysler’s overall strategy of ensuring sustainable mobility for the future. In various markets, the 3.0-litre diesel engine is used in ten different Mercedes-Benz model lines. BLUETEC technology was initially launched in North America with the E320 BLUETEC, after which Mercedes-Benz will prepare for its introduction to other markets. BLUETEC will also be made available in a passenger car model in Europe beginning in 2008. DaimlerChrysler does not plan to restrict the use of BLUETEC to the Mercedes-Benz brand alone – the Jeep Grand Cherokee BLUETEC concept car, for example, represents another possibility for the future.
BLUETEC — The Market
Mercedes-Benz is considered to be the pioneer of automotive diesel technology – the Mercedes-Benz 260D, which was launched 70 years ago, was the world’s first production diesel car. Over the years, Mercedes-Benz has consistently used its innovation and engineering talent to enhance and improve the internal combustion system invented by Rudolf Diesel. Mercedes also has a great diesel tradition in Canada that stretches back more than 40 years.
As a result, Mercedes-Benz not only has a longer history of diesel expertise than any other automaker, but also understands the Canadian diesel market well. In August 2002, during a time when it appeared that diesel passenger cars had practically no future in Canada, Mercedes-Benz laid the cornerstone for a new era of diesel success by introducing the current-generation E-Class. Then, in January 2004, the brand officially launched diesel’s North American comeback at the Detroit Auto Show with the E320 CDI, which went on sale in April 2004. State-of-the-art common-rail direct injection, a turbocharger with variable turbine geometry and an intercooler made the E320 CDI much stronger, quieter and cleaner than any diesel that had ever come before it. Sales of the E320 CDI have noticeably increased since fuel prices began climbing in August 2005.
Market analysts agree that diesel vehicles will continue to become more popular. Automotive Industry Data, for example, predicts that diesel vehicles will account for nearly 60 percent of passenger cars in Western Europe in 2009, while J.D. Power expects the diesel share of western European passenger cars to rise to around 56 percent over the medium term.
Canadian Diesel Sales Up
Fuel costs and — more importantly — the huge improvements made to the performance and comfort offered by modern diesel engines, have led to a tremendous increase in the market share for diesel vehicles in Europe over the past few years. While diesel vehicles accounted for 32 percent of new registrations in Western Europe in 2000, that figure had risen to 49.5 percent by 2005, meaning that nearly half of all new automobiles in the region are now diesel-powered. The diesel share for SUVs is between 80 and 100 percent around the world, and upper-range vehicles such as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class represent another segment in which diesels perform well.
BLUETEC — A Modular Technology
BLUETEC is a modular concept that utilizes several coordinated technical measures to minimize emissions within the engine and also provide for effective exhaust gas treatment downstream. The process involves consistently reducing all relevant emission components to a minimum. The system for passenger cars includes an oxidation catalytic converter and a particulate filter in addition to new techniques for reducing nitrogen oxide emissions.
BLUETEC technology is especially important for lowering nitrogen oxide emissions, which is the last type of exhaust gas that’s higher in diesel vehicles than gasoline engines. Until recently, the only real remaining disadvantage of diesel engines as compared to gasoline engines was in the area of particulates and nitrogen oxides. However, Mercedes-Benz set the standard for modern diesel drive systems in the fall of 2003, when it introduced the maintenance-free particulate filter in Europe as part of the EU4 emission standards. Despite reducing diesel emissions by 75 percent over the past 15 years, the company is going further.
The mission is clear -- through the use of innovative BLUETEC technology, diesel engines from Mercedes-Benz have the potential to meet the world’s most stringent emission standards. When this has been achieved, Mercedes-Benz will be able to offer the world’s cleanest diesels in every vehicle class.
The E320 BLUETEC uses a refined NOx storage catalytic converter in combination with an SCR catalytic converter to lower nitrogen oxide emissions.
AdBlue Injection – Another Big Step
In future models, BLUETEC can add one more module -- AdBlue injection, which involves the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) process. This is currently the most effective method for exhaust gas treatment, enabling nitrogen oxide emissions to be reduced by up to 80 percent. BLUETEC with AdBlue is currently being developed for production cars and will be used primarily in large vehicles and SUVs. The Mercedes Vision GL 320 BLUETEC concept car, for example, is currently the worlds cleanest and most fuel-efficient SUV in its class. Regardless of the vehicles in which it is used, BLUETEC can comply with the world’s most stringent emission limits, including the BIN 5 standard that will go into effect in Canada in 2009.
The SCR process involves injecting AdBlue, an aqueous carbamide solution, into the exhaust flow, which releases ammonia (NH3), reducing nitrogen oxides to harmless nitrogen and water in the downstream SCR catalytic converter. Because only 0.1 litres of AdBlue is needed on average for every 100 kilometers driven (the equivalent of one to three percent of diesel consumption), its tank only needs to be refilled during regular maintenance checks. Achieving the greatest reduction of nitrogen oxides involves adding just the right amount of AdBlue for a given engine load and speed.
BLUETEC technology has been used successfully in more than 25,000 commercial vehicles from Mercedes-Benz since 2005, and three thousand locations in Europe now offer AdBlue. In fact, BLUETEC has decreased nitrogen oxide emissions to such an extent that the trucks already produce lower emissions than required by 2009 standards. As a result, Euro 5 trucks are entitled to pay lower road tolls in Germany at least until 2009.
Early on, DaimlerChrysler decided to use SCR-based BLUETEC technology to meet the Euro 4 and Euro 5 limits for commercial vehicles, and also to meet even more stringent European emissions standards in the future. All European manufacturers have since followed suit and are now developing technologies based on SCR to ensure compliance with Euro 5.
The Challenge For The Future: Sustainable Mobility
At the same time, the company is convinced that this goal can only be achieved through an integrated approach that addresses mobility as a complete system — one which begins with the vehicle but also includes the fuels and transport infrastructure.
The fact is that consumption and emissions can only be further reduced in combination with optimized fuels. Cleaner fuels can already be used today in existing fleets to help significantly lower emissions. The current focus is on promoting the global introduction of low-sulfur fuels to enable the development of cleaner and more economical drive systems.
Biogenic fuels represents the dawn of a system of mobility practically free of CO2 emissions. When burned, such fuels generate only as much carbon dioxide as the plants used to make them absorbed from the air. Biodiesel, which is made from vegetable oils, offers advantages over petroleum diesel. The same is true of bioethanol, which can be made from wheat, corn, or sugar cane. So-called Flex-Fuel vehicles, which can be operated with an 85-percent bioethanol-gasoline mix, will play an increasingly important role in North America, and DaimlerChrysler already has 1.5 million such vehicles on the road. In fact, all 2007 Mercedes-Benz C230 sedans are flex-fuel vehicles, which come with special fuel lines as well as an in-line fuel sensor that allows the engine management system to make adjustments automatically for E85 ethanol and gasoline.
However, biomass-to-liquid fuels (BTL) such as SunDiesel have the best prospects for future success, and DaimlerChrysler has been working extensively on the development and production of such fuels for years. A partnership between DaimlerChrysler, Volkswagen, CHOREN and Shell is now developing and testing SunDiesel in vehicles in Germany.
The fuel is made from scrap wood, but actually any kind of biomass can be used to produce it. The ecological balance shows that the use of SunDiesel leads to emissions approximately 90 percent lower than those produced by conventional fuels. Tests conducted by DaimlerChrysler have also confirmed the fuel’s excellent quality, and plans now call for filling new diesel passenger cars with SunDiesel at the factory as soon as the fuel becomes available in sufficient quantities.
DaimlerChrysler’s commitment to clean drive systems and to renewable, environmentally friendly fuels is a key element of the Group’s strategy for the future, with the overall goal of achieving sustainable mobility. Doing so will involve addressing three dimensions — the economy, the environment and society. The latest Sustainability Report provides a closer look at both DaimlerChrysler’s research and development activities and at the links between environmental protection, social responsibility and economic prosperity.
About Mercedes-Benz Canada
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