This week, Daimler announced its plan to transition to greener technologies over the next few years. The company laid out release schedules for several new hybrids, plug-in hybrids, fuel cell vehicles, and all-electric vehicles across all its brands.
The plan is a little all over the place but we try to summarize it below and if that’s not enough for you, you can dive into the full press package further down.
The German automaker announced an impressive ~€8 billion investment in the next two years that will be spread out across all its new powertrain and green technologies.
Daimler reiterated that it will launch the 4 new all-electric cars it greenlighted for production last year under the Mercedes-Benz brand. It also confirmed that it will unveil the first of the four vehicles at the Paris Motor Show later this year, as we reported last week.
With the announcement, Mercedes also released a sneak peek at its ’electric vehicle architecture ‘EVA’ – it looks a lot like the now de facto standard of the ‘skateboard’ platform for battery-powered vehicles.
The platform will be powered by the battery cells manufactured by Daimler’s ACCUmotive subsidiary. Last year, the automaker announced a €500 million ($543.5 million) investment in a new battery factory for the company in Kamenz, Germany.
Daimler will also bring new all-electric versions of the smart fortwo and forfour at the Paris Motor Show in September. The vehicles will hit the European market in 2017.
As for plug-in hybrids, Mercedes-Benz will expand its offerings with two more models: the GLC Coupé 350 e and the E 350e. Like for its other plug-in vehicles, they are built on the existing ICE platform and the real world all-electric range is not expected to exceed 20 miles on a single charge.
The company also plans to expand its new powertrain technologies to its lineup of commercial vehicles and buses. R&D Chief Thomas Weber said to expect more investments in the sector.
Finally, Daimler also reaffirm its commitment to bring to market GLC F-CELL fuel-cell plug-in hybrid SUV next year.
The full press package:
Electric Mobility: Electric pioneer Mercedes-Benz significantly expanding CO2-free mobility
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 driving emissions-free. 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. This will be followed by the Mercedes-Benz GLC F-CELL with innovative plug-in fuel cell technology from 2017. 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.
Reducing CO2 emissions across all vehicle classes 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 portfolio is set to continue growing. Prof. Dr Thomas Weber, Member of the Daimler Board of Management, Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development: “Our road map has been clearly defined. In addition to hybridized vehicle models and vehicles powered by fuel cells, we are now taking the next step and using a dedicated vehicle architecture for purely battery-driven vehicles. We are investing heavily 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.”
smart: Complete range of vehicles available with electric propulsion from 2017
The smart fortwo coupé electric drive, smart fortwo cabrio electric drive and smart forfour electric drive are making their global debuts at the Paris Motor Show in September 2016. With the debut 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 with either combustion engines or fully battery-powered. 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-seaters in early 2017.
The vehicles will be as agile and zippy as usual, helped by the extraordinarily tight turning circle of 6.95 meters for the two-seater which is exactly the same as for the same model with conventional propulsion. Even with colours and optional extras no wish remains open – electric driving is maximally individualized at smart. The charging time is an important factor for potential buyers of electric vehicles. The new smart electric drive will also be much more convenient in this respect. It is equipped with a battery supplied by Daimler’s subsidiary ACCUMOTIVE. The company, which is based in Kamenz in the Saxony region of Germany, has been producing the electrical heart of the smart electric drive since 2012.
GLC F-CELL: First Fuel Cell Vehicle with Plug-In Technology
Fuel cell technology is an integral part of Daimler’s propulsion strategy. The benefits are obvious: a long range combined with short filling times as well as a wide range of potential applications, 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 have worked with their partners in Daimler’s expertise network to develop a compact new fuel cell system that fits into conventional engine spaces for the first time.
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. The battery, which has an output of around 9 kWh, serves as an additional source of power for the electric motor and can now also be charged externally using plug-in technology. The combination of the fuel cell and battery systems combines with the refinement of the intelligent operation strategy to offer the best possible efficiency and comfort. As a result, the GLC F-CELL achieves a combined range of around 500 km in the NEDC. The practical and family-friendly SUV is produced at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen, which acts as the centre of competence for the model series.
2016 in Paris: Heralding a New Era of E-Mobility
Daimler AG will soon reach its next milestone on its journey to emissions-free driving. The developers at Mercedes-Benz are working on a new, intelligent concept for a multi-model vehicle architecture for purely battery-powered vehicles. As already demonstrated by the F 015 and F 125! research vehicles, the new platform will be consistently designed for emissions-free, battery-powered driving.
When implementing this into series production, Mercedes-Benz is not only benefiting from its internal development and production expertise but also from the group’s multi-model series modular strategy for alternative drive systems and direct access to key components for electromobility. The highly efficient lithium ion battery supplied by Daimler’s subsidiary Deutsche ACCUMOTIVE combined with the intelligent Mercedes-Benz operation strategy allows purely battery-driven ranges of up to 500 km for the first time.
Rapid charging using the Combined Charging System (CCS), which is being incorporated into this innovative vehicle for the first time, makes charging and operation as convenient as possible. Mercedes-Benz is thus offering a fully fledged electric vehicle in the luxury segment that does not cut any corners – heralding a new era of e-mobility. The global debut will take place at the Paris Motor Show, and the market launch is planned by the end of the decade.
Broad Range: A Large Number of Models Can Already Run Exclusively on Electrical Power
In addition to the fully electric Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive, the range of vehicles currently offered by Daimler includes a series of plug-in hybrid models that can easily cope with the kinds of distances typically encountered in everyday driving under electrical power alone. The combustion engine or a combination of the engine and electric motor are available for longer distances. The intelligent Mercedes-Benz operation strategy allows the system to maximize comfort and efficiency in any situation. The strengths of the hybrid concept come to the fore in urban traffic in particular, where the combustion engine is at a disadvantage.
The model campaign for these vehicles is well underway. Following the S 500 e, C 350 e (saloon, estate and long version for China), the GLE 500 e 4MATIC and the GLC 350 e 4MATIC, models seven and eight will already be in dealer showrooms by the end of the year with the GLC Coupé 350 e 4MATIC and the E 350 e (please refer to the relevant section for details).
Managers and Staff Leading the Way with E-Mobility
The company’s managers will lead the way toward emissions-free mobility in the future with electric company cars. In a pilot project in the greater Stuttgart area, managers at various levels have already been driving the purely battery-powered B 250 e since April 2015.
Furthermore, Daimler is this year set to invest a further 30 million euros into extending the company’s own charging infrastructure across many of its sites. This scheme will also benefit employees, who have access to a growing range of vehicles with alternative drive systems.Both partially and fully electric vehicles are available at attractive conditions through the employee car scheme. Available models include the smart fortwo electric drive and the B 250 e as well as the GLE 500 e and C 350 e.
The research project “charge@work” that was launched back in October 2013 offers employees the use of electric vehicles for both business and private use and has been developed alongside the company’s charging infrastructure. Since that date, they have been able to hire a smart fortwo electric drive from the car pools at the company’s Möhringen, Untertürkheim and Sindelfingen sites – for a weekend, a week or a whole month, as they prefer. The offer has been enthusiastically received and taken up by employees: The distance covered without emissions in the first one and a half years alone is equivalent to 40 times the distance around the world.
Commercial Vehicles: Fuso Canter E-Cell in Fleet Testing
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. Like all vehicles in this weight category, the maximum speed of the Canter E-Cell is limited to 90 km/h. The batteries, which weigh about 600 kg, allow ranges in excess of 100 kilometres, which is greater than the average distance covered each day by many trucks used for light distribution. About 900 electric Vito E-Cell vehicles have been produced since 2010. The bonnet of the van, which has been designed for a payload of 900 kg, houses the electric motor, power electronics, torque converter and mains charging device. The electric motor generates an output of 60 kW with a peak torque of 280 Nm. The high-performance and robust lithium ion batteries are located under the load compartment floor, have a capacity of 36 kWh and allow a range of at least 80 km in real-world conditions.
Buses: Emissions-Free Urban Driving with Fuel Cells or Electric Propulsion
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.
Under the microscope: charging technology: Charging made easier
Whether at home via a wallbox, 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 is set to revolutionise charging convenience from 2017. The use of the technology is initially planned for the facelift model of the Mercedes-Benz S 500 e. News 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 with much greater performance than is possible today.
One of the next steps on the road to the perfect electric vehicle and plug-in-hybrid is wireless charging. Inductive charging makes handling these vehicles even more convenient. Mercedes-Benz has been testing the contactless charging technology since 2015 with a test fleet of the current S 500 e. From 2017 the technology should be ready: with the facelift model of the S 500 e, the availability of an inductive charging system as an optional extra is planned, in addition to cable-connected charging. With this innovative technology, the electrical energy is contactlessly and safely transmitted via a magnetic field.
The system is comprised of two components: a secondary coil in the vehicle floor and a base plate with integrated primary coil. This is placed on the garage floor, for example, or in a protected area in front of a carport. Via a display message in the cockpit the driver can see whether the vehicle is in the tolerance range over the charging station. As soon as the charging position has been reached, charging automatically begins and is constantly monitored by the system. The electrical energy is transmitted contactlessly, without a charging cable, at a power output of up to 3.6 kW. With an efficiency rate of almost 90 percent, the high-voltage battery can be efficiently, conveniently and safely charged.
AC + DC = Combined Charging System (CCS)
Public fast charging is increasingly gaining in importance. In the past years, Daimler, in conjunction with other automotive manufacturers, has decisively advanced the development of the Combined Charging System into an open and universal charging system for electric vehicles. The system pursues the goal of unlimited, global e-mobility. It expands the existing technical standard for AC charging of electric vehicles with the capacity for DC fast charging. From 2018 direct current charging based on the CCS standard will gradually find its way into all electric vehicles from Mercedes-Benz. Depending on the vehicle and battery system, this enables a charging capacity of up to 150 kW at fast charging stations. Perspectively, the system also enables a charging capacity of up to 350 kW.
Agreement on the European socket standard simultaneously simplifies the development of an extensive fast charging network. In Germany, partners from business, politics and research are involved in the development of this infrastructure: in public projects such as “SLAM – Schnellladenetz für Achsen und Metropolen” (Fast Charging Network for Transport Axes and Metropolitan Regions) or “Schnellladen Berlin” (Fast Charging Berlin) the partners are driving forward the development of a fast charging network within Germany across all industries. The German government has just decided to support the further development of a nationwide network of fast charging and normal charging stations with 300 million euros.
Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe the podcast.