Shortly after the successful market launch of the S 400 HYBRID, currently the most fuel-efficient luxury-segment saloon with a petrol engine, Mercedes-Benz will be presenting the first “three-litre car” in the premium class - the Vision S 500 Plug-in HYBRID - at the 63rd IAA in Frankfurt. The technology vehicle will display the future of Mercedes-Benz’ modular set of hybrid systems. The Vision S 500 Plug-in HYBRID can drive for up to 30 kilometres solely on electricity and therefore without producing any local emissions. The efficient drive system combined with the CO2 bonus for the battery-electric driving mode enables the vehicle to achieve a certified consumption of only 3.2 litres of petrol per 100 kilometres. With CO2 emissions of only 74 grams per kilometre in the NEDC (New European Driving Cycle), the experimental vehicle developed in Sindelfingen demonstrates the long-term viability of future S‑Class generations. The outstanding values are made possible by the combination of a plug-in hybrid with the efficiency-boosting BlueEFFICIENCY measures. At the same time, the Vision S 500 Plug-in HYBRID has all of the strengths that are typical of the S‑Class: top comfort, outstanding safety and masterful performance. The drive system in the concept car consists of three main components: a powerful V6 petrol engine with a next-generation direct injection system, a 44 kW/60 hp hybrid module and a lithium-ion battery with more than 10 kWh of storage capacity that can be recharged at charging stations. The Vision S 500 Plug-in HYBRID accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.5 seconds.
“The Vision 500 Plug-in HYBRID is a new milestone on our path toward zero-emission mobility,” says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “It is a luxurious and safe S‑Class that offers superior driving performance while at the same time consuming less fuel than current compacts. All of this shows that our top models will also be able to combine automotive fascination with responsibility for the environment.”
“Although it will take some time before this model can go into series production, our engineers will be working full steam to carry out the necessary integration measures and ensure that all components can meet the tough everyday demands required of a luxury long-distance saloon,” says Dr. Thomas Weber, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG with responsibility for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. “We already have all the key technology we need for such a dream car, which is why I see it being included in the next generation of the S‑Class. The important thing now is that our development work be accompanied by the establishment of a full-coverage infrastructure that will allow the potential of this innovative drive system to be fully exploited.”
The electrical drive components of the Vision S 500 Plug-in HYBRID demonstrate the versatility of Mercedes-Benz’ intelligently organised set of hybrid systems, which has a widely scalable range of performance. The hybrid module’s design does not differ much from the compact, disc-shaped 15-kW electric motor of the S 400 HYBRID, even though it is three times as powerful. As a result, the hybrid module can be elegantly incorporated into the housing of the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission, allowing this model variant as well as the S 400 HYBRID to retain the S‑Class’ spacious interior. Future model generations will orient themselves on this system architecture.
Whereas the extremely compact lithium-ion battery in the S 400 HYBRID (0.9 kWh) can be housed in the vehicle’s engine compartment, the significantly higher-performing lithium-ion unit in the Vision S 500 Plug-in HYBRID (over 10 kWh) requires more installation space. The battery is located behind the rear seats in the boot. The lithium-ion battery’s location above the rear axle provides crucial benefits, since it ensures that the vehicle has a balanced weight distribution and that the petrol tank remains adequate for long-distance cruising. In addition, the protected position of the tank ensures it is as safe as possible during crashes.
In accordance with the modular concept, the powertrain design for the Vision S 500 Plug-in HYBRID is basically the same as that for the S 400 HYBRID. One system-specific attribute is the presence of an additional clutch integrated between the combustion engine and the electric motor. This device decouples the two components in the pure electric drive mode, thereby ensuring the highest level of efficiency in the latter. Moreover, because it is fully integrated into the vehicle’s converter housing, the clutch does not take up any additional space.
The lithium-ion battery not only serves as an energy storage device for the electric motor in the S 500 Plug-in HYBRID; it is also linked via a DC-DC converter to the 12-volt on-board network, which provides power to standard consumers such as the headlamps and various comfort devices. To ensure a consistently high level of electrical efficiency, the voltage transformers are water-cooled via an additional low-temperature circuit.
Special power electronics are required for operating the three-phase AC electric motor in the high-voltage direct current grid, and the inverter for this task is housed in the engine compartment. Because the power electronics system itself is heated by the electric current thus created, it too is integrated into the low-temperature cooling circuit. Mercedes-Benz employs standardised components for the power electronics system as well, enabling them to be efficiently combined with different electric motors and battery types across all model series.
An important milestone on the road to plug-in hybrids is the recently unveiled Vision E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID diesel hybrid. Like the S 400 HYBRID and the Vision S 500 Plug-in HYBRID, it is based on the Mercedes-Benz modular hybrid concept. This near-series vehicle study combines a new 2.2-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine with the 15 kW/20 hp hybrid module that is also used in the S 400 HYBRID, but which here also enables pure electric driving. This drive system configuration enables the Vision E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID to travel 100 km on only 4.5 litres of fuel (preliminary value). This corresponds to CO2 emissions of 119 grams per kilometre with an output of 165 kW/224 hp and superior torque of 580 - 600 newtonmetres (combined in both cases), more or less the same performance as today’s six-cylinder diesel engines. Exhaust gas treatment is handled by the combination of an oxidizing catalytic converter, a diesel particulate filter and BlueTEC mit AdBlue® injection. The Vision E 300 BlueTEC HYBRID thus also has the potential to meet the world’s most stringent emission standards.