Daimler invests massively in green powertrain technologies: All Mercedes-Benz model series will be electrified
Stuttgart. Daimler will invest more than seven billion euro in ‘green’ technologies in the next two years alone. Shortly, smart will be the only automaker worldwide to offer its entire model range both powered by internal combustion engines or operating on battery power. Mercedes-Benz will put the first fuel-cell-powered vehicle with plug-in technology into series production, the GLC F-CELL. In addition, the company is developing a dedicated vehicle architecture for battery-electric motor cars.
Following the just presented new diesel engine generation, a new family of petrol engines is in the starting blocks for 2017, which will again set efficiency standards and will be the first ever to be equipped with a particulate filter. The 48-volt on-board power supply will be introduced at the same time and starter-generators will become part of the standard specification. It will make fuel savings possible that previously were the exclusive domain of the high-voltage hybrid technology. At the same time, the Mercedes-Benz plug-in hybrid initiative is in full swing: In the GLC Coupé 350 e 4MATIC and the E 350 e, models number seven and eight are poised to arrive in dealer showrooms still in 2016. The next major technological leap will be made in 2017, starting with the model update of the S 500 e: for the first time, all-electric operating ranges exceeding 50 km will be made possible by an advancement of the lithium-ion battery together with a further optimised intelligent operating strategy.
"We will invest 14.5 billion euro in research and development in the next two years alone – more than half of it will again be spent on ‘green’ technologies. Just for our passenger cars, we are talking about 5.4 billion euro", says Prof Dr Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. "As a matter of fact, no other manufacturer offers a comparable range of electrified vehicles and solutions in the field of electric mobility. The spectrum ranges from the smart city runabout and attractive Mercedes-Benz passenger cars to buses, coaches, and trucks of the Fuso brand. We will electrify all Mercedes-Benz passenger car model series step by step“ .
Daimler deliberately opts not for a solitary type of powertrain for tomorrow's mobility, but for a coexistence of different technologies. These are optimally tailored to the particular customer needs and vehicle models. Thomas Weber: "Customers are not looking to sacrifice in the sense of 'less car' - in the contrary. That is why we emphasise enhanced efficiency through more intelligent technology – and we do it consistently in all model series. All the mentioned types of powertrains - gasoline, diesel, plug-in-hybrids, batteries or hydrogen - have their justification and chances".
Road #1: High-efficiency internal combustion engines
Mercedes-Benz attaches key importance to the optimisation of modern internal combustion engines in its road map to sustainable mobility. In particular, the economical, clean and, especially in Europe, highly popular diesel engine makes an important contribution to the further reduction of fleet consumption. A new family of petrol engines that will again set efficiency standards is slated to follow in 2017. The 48-volt on-board power supply will be introduced at the same time. It will make fuel savings possible that previously were the exclusive domain of the high-voltage hybrid technology. Integrated starter generators (ISG) and belt-driven starter generators (RSG) are further components in enhancing the efficiency of internal combustion engines. And what today is standard for diesel engines will also soon be used for petrol engines at Mercedes-Benz: the particulate filter.
Mercedes-Benz is on the right track. In two decades since 1995, the average consumption of the passenger car fleet dropped by nearly half from 9.2 l/100 km (230 g CO2 /km) to 5.0 l (123 g CO2/km). Today, 62 models from Mercedes-Benz Cars already emit less than 120 g/km. And 104 models carry the efficiency label A+ or A. With 88 models, diesel-powered vehicles account for a disproportionately large number of these efficiency champions.
The new family of premium diesel engines from Mercedes-Benz is therefore a powertrain of the future. Following the début of the OM 654 in the E 220 d in spring of 2016, the family of engines will be widely used in the entire product range of Mercedes-Benz Cars and Vans in the medium term. There are plans for several output variants as well as longitudinal and transverse installation in vehicles with front-, rear- and all-wheel drive.
Modular design, reduction in variants and standardisation of the interfaces between power unit and vehicle – this strategy was therefore logically also applied in the development of the new premium petrol engines from Mercedes-Benz. The first representative, an in-line six-cylinder engine (M 256) with integrated starter generator (ISG), will be launched in 2017 and will set new benchmarks in efficiency. The new family of engines will also include a four-cylinder engine with belt-driven starter generator (RSG) starting in 2017.
The introduction of the new engine generation once more blurs the lines between petrol and hybrid models. Perspectively, all Mercedes-Benz passenger cars will be electrified, because the company is at the same time systematically advancing the development of the 48-volt on-board power supply. The technology will be introduced in various model series step by step. The 48-volt on-board power supply offers four times the power of its 12-volt predecessor at unchanged currents, but without the additional safety architecture of a high-voltage system. Furthermore, this low-voltage system makes fuel savings possible that previously were the exclusive domain of the high-voltage hybrid technology. That is because the important hybrid functions "energy recovery", "boost" and "starting off and manoeuvring in electric mode" can be realised for the first time without high-voltage components.
What has become the standard for diesel engines will also soon be used for petrol engines at Mercedes-Benz: the particulate filter. Mercedes-Benz is the first manufacturer planning the large-scale use of particulate filters also for petrol engines to further improve the environmental compatibility. After more than two years of positive field experience in the S 500, additional variants of the S-Class powered by a petrol engine are to be equipped with this new technology as part of the model update as early as next year. The filter will then be gradually introduced in other, new vehicle models, model updates and new engine generations. Thereafter, the use of the particulate filter is also planned for the current model series.
Road #2: The most extensive range of plug-in hybrids is further expanded
Plug-in hybrids represent a key technology on the road to a locally emission-free future for the motor car. This is because they offer customers the best of both worlds; in the city they can drive in all-electric mode, while on long journeys they benefit from the combustion engine's range. Hybridisation also makes the internal combustion engine more efficient, and ensures more dynamic performance.
The Mercedes-Benz plug-in hybrid initiative is in full swing: following the S 500 e, C 350 e (Saloon, Estate and long-wheelbase version for China), the GLE 500 e 4MATIC and the GLC 350 e 4MATIC, models number seven and eight will arrive in dealer showrooms still in 2016, the GLC Coupé 350 e 4MATIC and the E 350 e. Mercedes-Benz already has the widest range of plug-in hybrid models today. All in all, the hybrid range from Mercedes-Benz presently comprises 13 models. In the E 350 e, the combination of the 9G-TRONIC plug-in-hybrid transmission and the latest generation of electric motors ensures top marks for fuel consumption, ride comfort and dynamics. The next major technological leap will be made in 2017, starting with the facelift of the S 500 e: for the first time, all-electric operating ranges exceeding 50 km will be made possible by an advancement of the lithium-ion battery together with a further optimised intelligent operating strategy.
Because the strengths of plug-in hybrids come to the fore in larger vehicles and on mixed route profiles, Mercedes-Benz is opting for this powertrain concept from the C-Class on up. The strategic hybrid initiative is decisively facilitated by Mercedes-Benz's intelligent modular hybrid concept: It is scalable to allow it to be transferred to a large number of model series and body styles as well as left- and right-hand-drive variants.
Road #3: Electric pioneer Mercedes-Benz significantly expands carbon-free mobility
Reducing CO2 emissions across all vehicle categories is a top priority for Daimler AG. Electromobility has an important part to play in this regard. The company already has a large number of electric vehicles on the market, and the product range is set to continue to grow. Prof Dr Weber: "We are investing massively in electromobility, and we are convinced that the market is now ready. With the new vehicles we offer, we want to impress the benefits of the new mobility on car owners who have not yet opted for an electric vehicle."
The smart fortwo electric drive made Daimler the first manufacturer to offer a series-produced electric vehicle in 2007. Today, the company will soon have more than a dozen vehicles on the market including vans and commercial vehicles that are capable of emission-free driving. The range is going to be significantly expanded in the near future. The fourth generation of the smart as a fortwo and also as a forfour for the first time ever is being launched onto the market before the end of the year. The smart fortwo coupé electric drive, smart fortwo cabrio electric drive and smart forfour electric drive are making their global débuts at the Paris Motor Show in September 2016. With the début of the fourth generation of the electric smart, smart will be the only automotive manufacturer in the world to offer its entire range of models either powered by internal combustion engines or operating entirely on battery power. The new smart fortwo electric drive is being launched onto the US market by the end of this year, where approximately 25 percent of all battery-driven smarts have been sold recently. This will be followed by the European market launch of the two- and four-seat models in early 2017.
This will be followed by the Mercedes-Benz GLC F-CELL with innovative plug-in fuel cell technology from 2017. Fuel-cell technology is an integral part of Daimler's powertrain strategy. The benefits are obvious: a long operating range and short refuelling stops as well as a broad spectrum of possible uses ranging from passenger cars to urban buses. A new generation of vehicles is being launched from 2017 on the basis of the Mercedes-Benz GLC. The Mercedes-Benz engineers joined forces with partners in the Daimler network of expertise to develop a new, compact fuel-cell system which for the first time fits into conventional engine compartments. The GLC F-CELL also boasts another innovation for the next generation of fuel cell vehicles in the form of a large lithium-ion battery. Rated at around 9 kWh, the battery serves as an additional energy source for the electric motor and can be charged externally by means of plug-in technology for the first time. The combination of the fuel cell and battery systems in concert with the refinement of the intelligent operation strategy offers the best possible efficiency and comfort. With this set-up, the GLC F-CELL achieves a combined range of around 500 km in the NEDC.
Another important step is the development of a multi-model electric vehicle architecture for battery-powered vehicles. The first model is to be launched onto the market before the end of the decade.
The light-duty Fuso Canter E-Cell truck has been undergoing commercial fleet testing since 2015. This was initially carried out in Portugal where they are produced, and five of the vehicles have also been on the road for the City of Stuttgart and the logistics company Hermes since April this year. Instead of a diesel, an electric powertrain with a strong permanent-magnet motor delivers an output of 110 kW (150 hp) to the rear axle via a single-speed transmission. 650 newton metres of torque allow the six-tonne vehicle to accelerate almost as fast as a passenger car, and are available from the very first second of driving.
Dozens of fuel cell-powered Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses have already been proving their mettle for twelve transport operators on three continents since 2003. The next milestones on the way to the future are the Citaro E-CELL (battery-powered) and Citaro F-CELL (fuel cell-powered). Both are based on a shared e-platform, which allows tailored electromobility for any city and even any bus line. The capacity of the battery and charging technology are adjusted to suit the specific requirements. The forecast: By the year 2030, 70 percent of all newly acquired Citaro buses will run on electricity with zero local emissions.
Road #4: The mobility of the future will be more flexible and networked
Daimler has for years been developing from an automobile manufacturer into a mobility provider. The focus is no longer solely on the car as a product, but also on services related to mobility.
Charging made easy: Whether at home via a wallbox charging system, while shopping, at work or on the street: the possibilities for powering electric vehicles are already very diverse nowadays. Daimler will shortly be offering an innovative solution, particularly for charging at home: Inductive charging will revolutionise charging convenience from 2017. The use of the technology is initially planned for the facelift model of the Mercedes-Benz S 500 e. New for cable-connected charging, too: from 2018, direct current charging based on the CCS (Combined Charging System) standard will gradually find its way into all electric vehicles from Mercedes-Benz.This will enable fast charging in public at a much greater capacity than is possible today.
For electric and plug-in vehicles, the services from Mercedes-Benz include the installation of the Mercedes-Benz wallbox charging system as well as exclusive Mercedes me connect functions. Another aspect of the corporate strategy is to offer new, innovative services for flexible and networked mobility. moovel provides the fastest connection between two places, taking all means of transport into consideration. With more than 1.3 million customers, car2go is the world's leading carsharing company, and mytaxi is now used in 40 European cities.
Network of expertise: concentrated know-how on batteries and systems
In addition to its internal development and production expertise and its modular strategy for alternative powertrains, part of Daimler AG's philosophy is to ensure that it has direct access to key components for electromobility. Through its wholly owned subsidiary Deutsche ACCUMOTIVE, Daimler has extensive know-how when it comes to the development and production of highly complex drive batteries. NuCellSys is a global leader in the development and manufacturing of fuel cell systems for vehicle applications. The network of expertise also includes joint ventures, for example with Bosch for electric motors (EM-motive) and with Ford for fuel cell stacks (AFCC), but also as a partner with H2 Mobility GmbH in order to build up the hydrogen infrastructure.
Daimler AG already recognised at a very early stage that the availability of highly complex battery systems will continue to play an enormously important role for the automobile industry in the future. With its subsidiary Deutsche ACCUMOTIVE founded in 2009, the company is the only German manufacturer today with its own battery production, and is currently expanding its capacities on a broad basis with an investment of 500 million euro.
The introduction of lithium-ion technology in 2009 brought the breakthrough in energy storage technology and thus made electromobility a reality. In the same year, Mercedes-Benz was the first manufacturer worldwide to put a vehicle with this technology on the market, the S 400 Hybrid. Today, all Mercedes-Benz plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles are based on it. Further technological leaps where batteries are concerned are expected in the coming decade through the launch of post-lithium-ion systems, with lithium-sulphur batteries currently being the most promising.
Daimler got involved in the new line of business with stationary battery storage systems in 2015, and has opened up additional opportunities to grow outside the automotive sector. It recently founded the "Mercedes-Benz Energy GmbH" subsidiary, which is taking over the development and global distribution of stationary energy storage systems of the Mercedes-Benz brand with immediate effect.
Embase, a joint venture between Daimler AG, The Mobility House AG and GETEC, is set to commence operation of the world's largest 2nd use battery storage system this year in Lünen in the Westphalia region of Germany. Used systems from second-generation smart electric drive vehicles are combined to create stationary storage systems and marketed on the German primary energy balancing market.