The big unveiling for Mercedes-Benz in Detroit this year was of course the new E-Class, but the German manufacturer was far from being a one-hit-wonder. Although poles apart, M-B also came to Motown with its electric BlueZERO concept and the mighty SLR Stirling Moss.
The production-ready BlueZERO concept, is a modular concept that facilitates three models with distinct powertrain configurations all based on a single vehicle architecture:
- The BlueZERO E-CELL with a 35 kWh lithium ion battery pack and battery-powered range of up to 200 kilometres;
- The Blue-ZERO F-CELL with fuel cell drive and an electric range of well over 400 kilometres;
- The BlueZERO E-CELL PLUS with electric drive and an additional internal combustion engine as a range extender. This version has an overall range of up to 600 kilometres and an electric-only range of up to 100 kilometres.
The three BlueZERO variants employ a tried-and-true unique sandwich floor architecture, introduced ten years ago by M-B for the A-Class and later used in the construction of the B-Class.
One benefit of this type of construction is that the major drive components can be built into the vehicle floor (as they are in the BlueZERO), which serves to lower the cars centre of gravity, increase available space and provide occupants with the best possible protection in an accident.
â€œThe flexible BlueZERO concept facilitates electric mobility to suit every requirement and demonstrates that Mercedes-Benz is already in possession of all the key technologies for electric vehicles suitable for everyday useâ€, comments Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research and Development for Mercedes-Benz Cars.
All three BlueZERO variants are identical in size and share major technical components. Seating for five, a 450kg load capacity and over 500 litres of luggage space combine to make the BlueZERO a vehicle with everyday usability.
When compared to electric vehicles based on conventional vehicle platforms, Mercedes-Benz says that the BlueZERO concept offers some convincing benefits:
- Thanks to the integration of the energy storage device and/or energy generator within the spacious sandwich floor, the room available within the vehicle remains fully intact;
- The drive technology built into the sandwich floor ensures a low centre of gravity, as well as safe and agile handling characteristics;
- The sandwich concept and the packaging of major drive components between the axles make for the highest crash safety levels.
SLR Stirling Moss
The SLR Stirling Moss is the antithesis of the BlueZERO concept. Hugely powerful, massively expensive and brutally fast, and with seating for only two, the SLR Stirling Moss represents the excesses of a time that is passing us by â€“ and, it might be a dinosaur, but we love it.
Mercedes-Benz says that the SLR Stirling Moss reinterprets the myth of the legendary 300 SLR.
Power is supplied by a supercharged V8 petrol engine with 478kW, enough to propel the â€˜Mossâ€™ from standstill to 100 km/h in less than 3.5 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 350 km/h.
â€œNo other car is this open and this fast at the same time,â€ says Dr. Klaus Maier, responsible for Sales and Marketing at Mercedes-Benz Cars.
The exclusive SLR Stirling Moss will be the last ever variant of the current SLR range and production is limited to only 75 units at around $750,000 a piece. Production is due to get underway in June 2009.