Daimler AG already has the world’s most varied fleet of electric and hybrid vehicles. In parallel with the Mercedes-Benz plug-In hybrid initiative which envisages a total of ten models by 2017, plus the launch of further, all-electric vehicles, the company is investing massively in the further development of its battery expertise: A clear statement underpinning the company’s comprehensive approach to sustainability. At this year’s Silvretta E-Car Rally (2 to 5 July 2015), seven electrified models from the group will show that they are not only able to shine with concentrated efficiency in an urban environment. For the first time in this competition up hill and down dale, the current Mercedes-Benz plug-in triad will compete with each other.
The electrification roll-out of Mercedes-Benz and smart continues non-stop. Daimler AG is smoothing the “road to emission-free driving” with highly efficient vehicles powered by internal combustion engines, electric cars with batteries for the city and urban environment, and with plug-in hybrids for longer journeys, mixed route profiles and larger vehicles. From the smart to the Mercedes-Benz B-Class and S-Class, and right up to the Mercedes-AMG SLS sports car plus commercial vehicles: electromobility is a fixed component of the product strategy.
There is currently a very strong focus on the Mercedes-Benz plug-in hybrid initiative: by 2017 there will be ten models in the market – which means a new product launch every four months on average. Following the S 500 e presented last year and the C 350 e launched successfully in March 2015, the GLE 500 e 4MATIC due in August will be the third model in dealer showrooms. All three plug-in hybrid versions will undergo exciting challenges during the Silvretta. In addition Daimler is giving the participants in the annual electric rally an outlook on a further model in its hybrid product initiative: a compact SUV, the GLC 350 e 4MATIC.
The smart electric drive has taken part in the Silvretta E-Rally right from the start. And it enjoys unbroken success. It is not for nothing that this electric city runabout is Germany’s most successful electric car for the third time in succession. The market launch of the new smart fortwo and forfour is fully under way right now. Their electric variants will follow in 2016. The B-Class Electric Drive is taking up this Alpine challenge for the second time this year, and of course the Mercedes-AMG SLS Coupé Electric Drive will also take part.
The battery as the centrepiece of electric vehicles
In 2009, with the S 400 Hybrid, Mercedes-Benz was the first manufacturer worldwide to bring a series production vehicle with a lithium-ion battery to market – a major breakthrough in energy storage technology. Since then the company has continuously developed its battery expertise further. All current Mercedes-Benz plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles are based on this technology. “Lithium-ion technology is the most efficient battery technology we currently have, and it has plenty of further potential,” says Harald Kröger, Head of Development for Electrics/Electronics & E-Drive at Mercedes-Benz Cars. There is currently no other battery technology that meets all the required parameters such as quality, output, service life, costs, etc. in the same measure. Only lithium-sulphur systems look likely to bring a technological leap forward within the next decade: we can expect a revolution with respect to costs and operating range.” Daimler AG already recognised at a very early stage that the availability of highly complex battery systems will continue to play an enormously important part for the automobile industry in the future. With its subsidiary company Deutsche ACCUmotive founded in 2009, the company is now the only manufacturer with its own battery production in Europe, and it is currently expanding the capacities on a broad basis. Not least in view of the latest product innovation: the Mercedes-Benz storage battery.
From the car to the grid: stationary storage batteries for households and industry
Daimler has recently entered the stationary storage battery business with its wholly-owned subsidiary Deutsche ACCUmotive. “Mercedes-Benz storage batteries are an excellent example why lithium-ion batteries made in Germany are a business model for the future,” says Harald Kröger. “Electromobility is not just the car itself as a product. In the final analysis it is the combination of product availability, charging infrastructure and services that will decide how rapidly this new technology will establish itself.”
The first lithium-ion storage battery on an industrial scale is already operational. The product variant for private households has been available to order since early June, and deliveries will commence in September. Kröger: “What has proven its worth over millions of kilometres under the most adverse conditions such as heat and cold is also admirably equipped for stationary use. The energy turnaround will not only happen on the roads, but also in private houses.”
Silvretta E-Auto Rally: Mercedes-Benz at the starting line with seven vehicles
The Silvretta High Alpine Road in Austria’s Montafon region is considered to be one of the most beautiful panoramic roads in the Alps. From 2 to 5 July 2015 it will be the setting for the legendary Silvretta Rally that will feature some 150 vintage cars and 30 locally emission-free electric cars. With a total distance of 366 kilometres, ascents of more than 2000 metres in altitude and slopes whose gradients in some cases exceed 16 percent, the Silvretta E-Auto Rally presents a challenging terrain for the drivers in the 3-day event.
Mercedes-Benz und smart have taken part in the Silvretta E-Auto Rally from its inception, and are there for the sixth time in succession in 2015 – and once again have the largest fleet in the E-Rally with seven electric and hybrid vehicles:
smart BRABUS electric drive cabriolet
Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive (two vehicles)
Mercedes-AMG SLS Coupé Electric Drive
Mercedes-Benz C 350 e
Mercedes-Benz S 500 e
Mercedes-Benz GLE 500 e 4MATIC
Source: Daimler AG