Last week we told you that Mercedes was preparing a trio of BlueZERO concept models for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, each of which featured a distinct alternative power source. In the BlueZERO E-Cell, power came by way of a lithium-ion electric drive; in the BlueZERO E-Cell Plus, a lithium-ion electric drive plus an internal combustion was present; and in the BlueZERO F-Cell, a fuel cell system was the primary means of thrust (their operating ranges varied from 75 miles to just under 450 miles).
This week, Mercedes has confirmed that the three BlueZERO concept vehicles are indeed set to premier at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show, with the three models the latest demonstration of the company’s focus on developing “modular powertrain technologies.” Each are based on the same lightweight sandwich-floor architecture (first introduced on the A-Class and then B-Class some ten years ago), with their goal being to demonstrate how in a single platform, Mercedes already has the ability to offer a varying range of alternative drive technologies based on individual customer requirements.
According to Daimler CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche: “The flexible BlueZERO concept allows electromobility for every requirement and highlights the fact that Mercedes-Benz is the world’s only car manufacturer to already have in place all the key technologies for electric cars offering full everyday practicality.”
Dr Thomas Weber, the member of the Daimler AG Board of Management responsible for corporate research and development at Mercedes-Benz Cars, adds: “Our modular system allows different drive configurations for every customer requirement. The modified sandwich-floor platform provides the perfect basis for a wide model range with electric drive systems. We are also developing a new, additional platform for future compact models with power units based on optimised internal combustion engines. The intelligent networking of both architectures enables us to develop our product portfolio extremely flexibly and efficiently. From 2009, we will be producing the first Mercedes fuel-cell cars on a small scale. Small-scale production of Mercedes-Benz cars with battery-electric drive alone will then commence in 2010. This means we are extremely well equipped for the future.”
Or, to put it simply, Mercedes would like to formally state that they have succeeded in creating a trio of alternatively-powered A-/B-Class models, but in all probability, you won’t be getting your hands on one anytime soon.
For more information regarding the Mercedes-Benz BlueZERO concept vehicles, keep reading for the official press release and photos (click to enlarge).