Archive for September 2010

Mercedes-Benz at the 2010 “Mondial de l’Automobile” in Paris: Style icons and technology trendsetters


Mercedes-Benz at the 2010 “Mondial de l’Automobile” in Paris: Style icons and technology trendsetters - three world premieres from the inventor of the automobile

- World premiere of the new CLS – the four-door premium coupe enters its second generation
- World premiere of the A-Class E-CELL – electric family car with a range of more than 200 kilometers
- World premiere of the S 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY – the world’s first 5-liter car in the luxury class
- Efficiency push – new BlueDIRECT engines, new 7G-TRONIC PLUS, 50 models with ECO start/stop function by mid-2011

Paris, France, Sep 30, 2010 – With three world premieres at the 2010 “Mondial de l’Automobile”, Mercedes-Benz is making an emphatic statement about the power of its innovation to combine automotive fascination with the highest levels of efficiency and environmental compatibility. At the same time, the new models represent the intelligent drive mix created by Mercedes-Benz as the basis for individually tailored “green” mobility. The new generation of the successful CLS four-door coupe combines groundbreaking design and cultivated sporting character with fuel consumption benefits of up to 25 percent compared with its predecessor. As an electric family car with a range of more than 200 kilometers, the new A-Class E-CELL facilitates entry into e-mobility on a broad front. And, as the first 5-liter car in the luxury segment, the new S 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY is the perfect illustration of how well-prepared the premium automobiles from Mercedes-Benz are for the future.

With its new models, Mercedes-Benz is using key accents to set the scene in advance of the 125th birthday of the automobile, “We are celebrating this anni-versary by forging ahead with the re-invention of the automobile – with groundbreaking technologies from the A to the S-Class,” says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars at the Mercedes press conference on the completely re-designed exhibition stand that creates a fascinating three-dimensional brand experience on more than 2,000 square meters. “And in the next 125 years of automotive history, Mercedes-Benz will do exactly what the inventors of the automobile have practiced with great success for the past 124 years – we will move forward.”

A-Class E-CELL – zero emissions, zero compromise in everyday use

With the A-Class E-CELL, Mercedes-Benz is putting its third electric car on the road – after the B-Class F-CELL with fuel cell and Vito E-CELL van with battery-electric drive. The full-size five-seater combines unrestricted family and everyday usability with the latest safety technology and refined performance. For quiet, zero local emissions drive, there is a 70 kW (95 hp) electric motor with a high torque of 290 Nm. Two extremely efficient lithium-ion batteries enable a range of more than 200 km (NEDC).

“Electro-mobility is increasingly becoming a part of our everyday lives. And we are well prepared,” says Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Group Research and Development Mercedes-Benz Cars. “We also know that electro-mobility will not arrive at the touch of a button. For this reason, we are focusing on an intelligent drive mix for our current and future vehicles that incorporates something more – fascination. Because the automobile – especially the premium automobile – will remain in the future what it always was, a highly emotional product.”

S 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY – first 5-liter car in the luxury segment

Mercedes-Benz is underscoring the future potential of the internal combustion engine with the new S 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY, the first 5-liter car in the luxury class. The first four-cylinder in the more than 60-year success story of the S-Class – a highly efficient turbodiesel – achieves fuel consumption of only 5.7 liters per 100 kilometers in the NEDC, which equates to CO2 emissions of 149 g/km. This makes the new S 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY the first vehicle in its class to undercut the 150 gram mark for CO2 emissions. Zetsche, “We want to be efficiency world champions, and we will make it happen. In order to achieve this target, we are also doing things that were previously considered unthinkable – for example, putting a four-cylinder engine into an S-Class. Some might see it as sacrilege, we call it progress.”

The new CLS – design icon and technology trendsetter

With its fascinating and sensuous design and its cultivated sporting character, the new-generation CLS benefits from the fact that, as founder of the segment, Mercedes-Benz is a full generation ahead. All engines in the CLS are new and deliver fuel consumption improvements of up to 25 percent compared with the outgoing models. Also contributing to this increased efficiency is the electro-mechanical direct steering, which celebrates its premiere in the CLS.

The highest level of efficiency is the common denominator in all four engines featuring in the new CLS. All the power units have increased output and torque compared with their predecessors, while fuel consumption has dropped by up to 25 percent. When sales begin in Europe in January 2011, it will be available in two six-cylinder engine variants – the CLS 350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY with 195 kW (265 hp) and the CLS 350 BlueEFFICIENCY with 225 kW (306 hp). They will also feature the ECO start/stop function as standard. Just two months later, the engine range will be expanded by the CLS 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY with 150 kW (204 hp). In the ECE fuel cycle it consumes only 5.1 liters of diesel/ 100 km. The CLS 500 BlueEFFICIENCY with a V8 engine and 300 kW (408 hp) will follow in April. Both of these variants are also equipped as standard with the ECO start/stop function that Mercedes-Benz will offer in more than 50 models throughout its entire product portfolio by mid-2011.

Dr. Weber, “For us, the new CLS is a design icon and technology trendsetter at the same time. On the one hand, this fascinating automobile functions as a guide for our future design language. At the same, the new CLS substantiates our assertion of technological leadership.”

The new CLS also set benchmarks in the field of safety. Features of the new four-door coupe include twelve intelligent driver assistance systems. Furthermore, the CLS is the first car in the world available with optional innovative high-performance LED headlamps. These combine for the first time the Intelligent Light System already available in Mercedes models with bi-xenon headlamps with LED technology.

Dr. Zetsche, “The CLS brings together all typical Mercedes values – excellent safety and first-class comfort are as much a part of it as outstanding efficiency, impressive dynamics and unmistakable style. The original four-door premium coupe is a clear example of what we mean by ‘contemporary luxury’.”

The new-generation CL-Class – efficiency in the top luxury segment

With the new-generation CL-Class, Mercedes-Benz is pushing fuel consumption and exhaust emissions into the spotlight in the exclusive top segment, too. The fundamentally redesigned and further enhanced two-door coupe features the same highly efficient engines that are now available in the S-Class and the new CLS. Alongside the newly developed BlueDIRECT technology with third-genera­tion direct injection, the bespoke BlueEFFICIENCY package in the CL 500 BlueEFFICIENCY contributes to a significant 22 percent reduction in fuel consumption.

Copyright © 2010, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.

Leave a comment

One for all – straight from the factory


- smart presents the world’s first series produced car sharing vehicle at the Paris Motor Show 2010
- International roll-out of the successful mobility concept from 2011
- Completely new telematics for even easier use
- car2go technology in bid for Parisian Autolib’ mobility concept

Paris, France, Sep 30, 2010 – At this year’s Paris Motor Show, car2go and smart are celebrating the world premiere of a new generation of cars. In future, blue-and-white smart fortwos will roll off the production line at the smart plant in Hambach, Lorraine, as a fully-configured “car2go edition”. With this special model variant, Daimler AG is highlighting the forthcoming international roll-out of its successful mobility programme, and at the same time taking an important step towards commercialisation.

The car2go edition is fitted with brand new telematics hardware, a new control unit with touchscreen, and a solar roof developed especially for the smart. Daimler, as a supplier of electric vehicles and car2go technology, is also announcing its involvement in a consortium bidding on the contract for the planned “Autolib’” mobility concept in Paris.

“car2go is now well established in Ulm, Germany, and Austin, USA as an innovative alternative means of transport around the city,” says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Daimler CEO and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. “In future, to support the international roll-out of our mobility concept, we will be producing the world’s first series produced car sharing vehicle – the car2go edition – at our smart plant in Hambach. In this way Daimler is once again highlighting its leading role in innovative urban mobility.”

The car2go edition is fitted with a completely new hardware generation that makes the fully-automated rental process even more convenient and secure. The telematics, which are the most efficient car sharing telematics in the world, have been optimized for the requirements of car2go, and were developed in cooperation with the Ulm-based Daimler TSS GmbH among other companies. The new-generation technology is completely integrated into the vehicle both visually and technically, At its heart is a new control unit with a large touch-sensitive screen. The car key, which was previously kept in the glove compartment, is now securely stowed here. There are also convenient slots for up to four chip cards (e.g. for refuelling or for entry to car parks).

The telematics unit is networked directly with the vehicle electronics, which means it can also control the immobiliser: when the customer starts the rental process with his or her access authorization and enters a PIN number, the immobiliser is deactivated and later, once the rental is over, it is immediately activated again. The user interface has also been completely redesigned: both the menu and the integrated radio and navigation system have been clearly upgraded, are even more convenient to use, and are in keeping with the car2go design.

“The new hardware and software generation is a platform which can be used to provide even more services in the car in the future,” explains car2go Managing Director Robert Henrich, giving a look into the future. “We can now integrate additional functions such as online services and media into the system in a customer-friendly way.”

Sun deck included

Another new feature in the car2go edition is the solar roof, which is a standard feature. With power of 100 Watt, it is the most powerful solar roof to be fitted as standard in a car, and it is fully integrated in the on-board electrics. The solar energy produced in this way is used to supply power to the telematics, and also to continually charge the car’s battery. This allows the alternator to be decoupled whilst driving and fuel consumption to be reduced by up to 10 percent. In addition, if the vehicle is parked in the sun, solar energy is used to power the ventilation system, which can reduce the temperature in the interior by up to 18 °C. This not only adds to the comfort when a customer gets into the car in summer or in southern climes, but also reduces the burden on the environment, because the air-conditioning system needs to expend considerably less energy to cool the car down, thus reducing fuel consumption.

The car2go edition is based on the smart fortwo mhd, and marks a switch from diesel to petrol at car2go. This car is expected to have an even better environmental record than its predecessor, thanks to the automatic start-stop system: as car2go vehicles are used mainly for intra-urban travel, every stop at traffic lights is used as an opportunity to save fuel. The car2go edition also has other features that make it particularly well-suited to rental. Its wheel rims and its seats, for example, are more robust than those of the car2go predecessor.

car2go technology for Paris

The success of the innovative car2go mobility concept in Ulm and Austin has also prompted Daimler to join a consortium bidding for the contract for the pioneering “Autolib’” project in Paris, as a supplier of vehicles and car2go technology. The consortium consists of the car rental company Avis, the Paris public transportation company RATP, the French state rail company SNCF and the construction company Vinci, which, among other things, operates numerous car parks in Paris. The contract would involve supplying a total of 3,000 electric vehicles – namely the smart fortwo electric drive and the A-Class E-CELL – to the project between now and 2012. The project also includes creating the necessary parking and vehicle charging infrastructure in the streets of Paris and some nearby localities.

car2go has enjoyed great success in Ulm since its launch there in 2008, and in Austin, the state capital of Texas, since 2010. 20,000 customers in Ulm currently use the 200 smart fortwo cdi’s, which will be replaced in the fourth quarter of 2010 with 300 of the new car2go edition smart fortwo mhd’s. Since the end of March 2009 when the service was launched to the public, almost 350,000 journeys have been made, and more than 4 million kilometres travelled. One of the system’s major advantages – the fact that customers can spontaneously make one-way journeys around the city – has proved very popular: nine out of ten rentals end at a different location from where they started. Customers can start and end their rental wherever they choose, and use the car for as long or as short a time as they like.

In Austin, Texas, people have shown incredible enthusiasm for the innovative mobility program. Just over four months since launching the program to the public, car2go has reached 10,000 registered members with more than 80,000 rentals completed. Shortly after its launch, car2go received the “Clean Air Excellence Award” from the US environment agency EPA, and the “Greater Austin Business Award” from the Austin chamber of commerce, in recognition of its innovativeness and environmental friendliness.

Preparations for the launch of car2go in other cities, particularly in Europe and North America, are continuing as planned, with roll-out set to take place from the first quarter of 2011 onwards. “We want to use the new car2go edition right from the start so that we can offer our customers the most convenient, progressive car sharing technology available today,” says Robert Henrich.

Just get in and drive off – wherever you are

“car2go is a further important component in Daimler’s strategy for sustainable mobility,” says Dr. Martin Zimmermann, Vice President Strategy, Alliances & Business Innovation at Daimler AG. “It is a completely flexible intra-urban transport system that is extremely easy for customers to use.”

When a customer requires a car, at whatever time of day or night, they can either rent it spontaneously on the street, or reserve it by phone or online. They can use the car for as long as required, then leave it at any public parking space within the car2go operating area. The pricing is particularly simple: rates are by the minute and include fuel, insurance and parking. Attractive rates apply for rentals by the hour and day. The only prerequisites for using the service are a one time registration procedure, and possession of a valid drivers licence. A small electronic seal is affixed onto the licence, turning it into a pass that the holder can use to access any available car2go vehicle. When the driving licence is held up to a reader near the windshield, the car’s central locking is unlocked and the rental period begins. After entering their PIN and briefly assessing cleanliness and checking for any damage on the vehicle via a screen inside the vehicle, the customer can drive. car2go differs from traditional car sharing programs in its spontaneous, flexible, fully-automated rental process, the option of making one-way and open-ended rentals, and its extremely simple and transparent pricing structure.

Copyright © 2010, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.

Leave a comment

smart at the Paris Motor Show 2010 - PART IV


Paris, France, Sep 30, 2010

smart fortwo 2010: The new generation smart fortwo - exciting style, comfort and environmental friendliness

The new generation smart fortwo will be launched in the autumn of 2010 with a fresh interior look, an upgraded exterior and even more environmentally friendly engines. The range of colours available for the exterior now includes a trendy matt finish. Furthermore, the tridion safety cell is optionally available in white and the new colours red and blue expand the choice of colours available for the cabrio soft top. LED daytime driving lights and new alloy wheels offer even more opportunities for customisation. Fresh fabrics and colours and a new cockpit design determine the high quality interior ambience. The communication and entertainment systems feature cutting edge technology. The vehicles are powered by state-of-the-art petrol engines that have been further refined with the 45 and 52 kW versions emitting less than 100 g/km CO2 - a new benchmark. smart is celebrating the arrival of the new generation with a limited welcome model boasting high-class equipment.

The new generation of the innovative two-seater smart fortwo is even more attractive and environmentally friendly. Marc Langenbrinck, Managing Director smart brand says "We continue to work hard to make our smart models even better and more desirable in every respect. The new generation smart fortwo is perfect for our times. It is attractive and has style. It also boasts high quality materials, visible attention to detail, even more comfort and enhanced functionality. And don't forget that smart drivers often have an unconventional way of thinking and look for alternatives. The new generation smart fortwo with its wide range of engines and opportunities for customisation meets their requirements."

Fresh ideas for the exterior

A wider range of colours is available for the new generation smart fortwo for an even more striking appearance. Customers can now choose from seven exterior colours instead of the previous six – including a trendy matt finish. In addition to the new colour matt light green, light blue metallic will replace the previous blue metallic. In addition, the front spoiler, side skirts and the rear apron can be painted in the body colour on request. The fuel filler cap will be painted in the same colour as the body in future.

smart is further extending the choice of colours available for the smart fortwo with the new cabrio soft top colours red and blue and the tridion safety cell available in a brilliant white. In conjunction with the white tridion safety cell the door mirror surrounds and the radiator grille are painted white. These combination possibilities and modern colour constellations give the smart fortwo a completely new face.

The optional LED daytime driving lights are a special eye-catching detail. Three new 15 inch alloy wheels also bring fresh ideas to the area of design and styling.

Harmonious interior with a fresh feel-good atmosphere

The interior of the new generation smart fortwo has been redesigned and has a fresh and spacious feel-good atmosphere. The full fabric-covered instrument panel featuring new styling and new fabric designs contribute to this.

Further equipment features underline the attention to detail. These include new dials with a contrasting dark central disc in the instrument cluster and dashboard instruments, and an optional fabric-covered folding centre armrest. A 3-spoke leather steering wheel with cruise control function and a trip computer are available as options. Furthermore, customers can opt for new ambient lighting with dimmable LEDs to create a pleasant lighting atmosphere.

The new style is complemented by a whole host of clever stowage facilities and practical details. For example, a large stowage box is available as an option for the lower section of the centre console. The optional glove compartment includes a clip function for holding notes, for example, and seat pockets on the sides of the seats that come as standard offer additional practical stowage space. The new one-hand operation of the tailgate is a further practical detail that enhances comfort.

On the pulse of the times: information, communication and entertainment

Cutting edge communication and entertainment systems are available for the new generation smart fortwo. The new audio system navigation/multimedia is a real multimedia talent with a large 16.5 cm display, integrated navigation system, Bluetooth hands-free system, USB and AUX port for external devices and an interface for controlling an iPod. The new audio system basic also has a USB and AUX port for an MP3 or CD player.

The smart drive kit for the iPhone turns the popular phone into a multimedia trip computer that is optimised for the smart fortwo in terms of function and design. It includes the smart cradle for the iPhone and the smart drive app for the iPhone developed by smart and has all the important features needed when driving a car: phone calls via hands-free system, your own extensive music collection, internet radio and a clever navigation system with a special smart touch.

The new optional surround sound system offers a superior sound experience. A multi-channel digital amplifier with power output of 8x40 Watt and a perfectly matched loudspeaker system provide impressive sound.

New BRABUS features

The most striking change for the BRABUS und BRABUS Xclusive lines is the new rim design for the Monoblock VII alloy wheels. The BRABUS double-pipe rear muffler has also been modified.
The BRABUS interior design, too, has been modified in line with the new smart fortwo interior design. The instrument cluster now also features the new dial. The cruise control function is available as a new option.

Engines with lower fuel consumption and emissions

The engines of the new generation work more efficiently than ever before. The 40 kW cdi turbodiesel is the CO2 champion with emissions of just 86 g/km. The optimised petrol engines also set new records with regard to CO2 emissions. Thanks to detailed work on the engine control unit and exhaust system both the 45 kW mhd and the 52 kW mhd consume 4.2 litres of petrol per 100 km (combined figure) – corresponding to CO2 emissions of 97 g/km (combined figure). The 62 kW version consumes 4.9 litres of fuel over 100 km (corresponding to CO2 emissions of 114 g/km). The power output of the BRABUS version has been increased from 72 kW to 75 kW. Despite this, at 119 g CO2 per 100 kilometres (combined figure) even the more powerful engine remains below the 120 gram threshold.

Limited special model "smart fortwo edition lightshine"

The smart brand is celebrating the introduction of the new generation fortwo with a limited welcome model boasting high quality equipment which continues the series of exciting special models. The smart fortwo edition lightshine is based on the passion equipment line which means that standard features include air conditioning, softouch and the bodypanel plus package. It is available in the new exterior colours matt light green or light blue metallic as a coupé and cabrio with a 52 kW mhd petrol engine, a 62 kW petrol engine or a 40kW cdi engine.

The special model boasts all the standard modifications implemented in the smart model refinement package. These include a new fabric-covered instrument panel with a new dial, new upholstery colours in design beige or design black, the fuel filler cap finished in the body colour and net pockets on the side bolsters between the seats.

Additional highlights of the special model are equipment features that are otherwise only available as options. For example, the high performance audio system navigation/multimedia including navigation and Bluetooth hands-free system, striking LED daytime driving lights and dashboard instruments.

And finally, equipment exclusive to the smart fortwo edition lightshine includes headlamp surrounds finished in the body colour, silver-grey painted 3-double-spoke 15" alloy wheels and the "edition" logo in the mirror triangle. Contrast components in matt chrome and velour floor mats with the "edition" logo further upgrade the interior.

The additional charge for the special model smart fortwo edition lightshine on top of the basic version is €2,065 with a metallic finish and €2,220 with the new matt light green finish (German list price incl. 19% VAT).

Trendsetter for environmentally friendly urban mobility

As a trendsetter the smart fortwo has been redefining individual urban mobility for more than ten years now. It combines responsibility to the environment and high ecological standards with joie de vivre and a high fun factor. With its compact dimensions the two-seater takes up an unrivalled amount of road and parking space. It boasts state-of-the-art functionality and uses future-oriented, environmentally friendly technologies to bring its occupants to their destination comfortably and safely.

Many successes confirm that smart is on the right track with its trend-setting "smart approach" - for example with regard to design: the smart fortwo received the coveted Red dot award for outstanding design and found a place in the New York Museum of Modern Art even before it took to the streets of the USA in 2008. Or with regard to ecology: emitting just 86 grams of CO2 per kilometre, the smart cdi is the CO2 champion and smart boasts the lowest fleet consumption. Furthermore, smart is a pioneer in the sector of electric vehicles and is redefining zero-emission urban mobility. Or innovative mobility: within the framework of the "car2go" project in Ulm and now also in the Texan capital of Austin, smart fortwos can be spontaneously rented by anyone around the clock for a small fee. This new mobility concept that won the ÖkoGlobe environmental award is extremely successful and makes driving in the city as easy as using a mobile phone. Or attitude to life: with the "smart urban stages" smart is creating temporary exhibition platforms in various cities for future-oriented projects that relate to ideas for the future of urban life.

Furthermore, exceptional economy remains a defining feature of the smart fortwo. According to calculations by the ADAC, the largest German automobile club, even the first generation of the charming two-seater was the most economical car on the German market. The verdict was that no other car is cheaper to run in Germany. The car magazine "Auto, Motor und Sport" also put the trendy two-seater at the top of its table of cost-efficient cars.

More than 1.2 million smart fortwos have been delivered to customers since the first model was launched in 1998. Today, customers in 43 countries on five continents are able to enjoy the popular car. In the course of 2010 the smart fortwo will be launched in Argentina and Indonesia – bringing the number of countries to 45.

Copyright © 2010, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.

Leave a comment

smart at the Paris Motor Show 2010 - PART III


Paris, France, Sep 30, 2010

smart fortwo electric drive: High demand for the electrically driven smart

- Production increased
- Innovative technology with lithium-ion battery
- Electric drive planned right from the start

The successful introduction of the new smart fortwo electric drive in European cities since November 2009 has exceeded all expectations. For this reason smart has increased the production volume of the electrically powered trendsetter from 1000 to more than 1500 vehicles. The second generation smart fortwo electric drive produced in Hambach, France, is equipped with an innovative and highly efficient lithium-ion battery. Neatly accommodated between the axles, it takes away no space at all in the intelligent two-seater car. A 30 kW electric motor is fitted at the rear. This provides for very good acceleration and high agility with 120 Newton metres of torque that are immediately available. The smart fortwo electric drive can be charged at any normal household socket. The fully charged battery has sufficient power to cover approximately 135 kilometres in accordance with the New European Driving Cycle, making it ideal for urban use. smart has made electric drive a practical alternative for mobility with zero local emissions in urban areas. The first new smart fortwo electric drive models were handed over to customers in Berlin at the end of 2009, and vehicles have now also taken to the roads of Rome, Madrid, Zurich, Paris and England. And the environmentally friendly pioneer will soon also be proving its suitability for everyday use in further cities in Europe, North America and Asia. From 2012 the smart fortwo electric drive will be available to anyone interested in almost 40 smart markets.

Marc Langenbrinck, responsible for brand management at smart says "In 1998 smart revolutionised urban mobility with the unique smart fortwo vehicle concept. Now smart is once again taking on a pioneering role and redefining zero-emission urban mobility. We are the first manufacturer to launch a series-produced electric vehicle. Daimler is spearheading electric mobility with the smart fortwo electric drive. The smart fortwo electric drive is a further logical step in the evolution of the smart brand which boasts the fleet with the lowest fuel consumption anyway."
Environmental friendliness and state-of-the-art functionality have been defining features of the smart fortwo ever since it was launched more than ten years ago. Since then its innovative concept has combined sustainable, forward-looking technologies with individual urban mobility.

With a length of just over two and a half metres the extremely compact vehicle can also park perpendicular to the flow of traffic. In addition, the space-saving and environmentally friendly two-seater currently has the lowest fleet consumption and it brings its occupants to their destination comfortably and safely. Its design is fresh, youthful, modern and yet sophisticated and has made it an automotive lifestyle icon which shows that mobility, responsibility to the environment and joie de vivre are compatible with one another. The smart fortwo has established a class of its own.

smart fortwo electric drive offers innovative driving fun

The latest generation smart fortwo electric drive, which started rolling off the production line in November 2009, is a logical continuation of a very ambitious goal: the production of a well-engineered, attractive city car that has no local exhaust gas emissions i.e. a zero emission vehicle. In 2007 smart kicked off zero-emission motoring in London with its tough city traffic conditions. Since then 100 smart fortwo electric drives of the first generation have been in practical customer operation there. The feedback from the UK capital has been very positive and confirms the high degree of maturity of this vehicle concept.

In 2007 smart presented the second generation smart fortwo electric drive, a more advanced electric drive with an innovative lithium-ion battery. Lithium-ion technology has decisive advantages over other types of batteries including better performance, shorter charging times, a longer life and high reliability. Marc Langenbrinck says "The second generation smart fortwo electric drive is based on a successful and accepted vehicle concept with cult character and inherent environmentally friendly characteristics. Its innovative electric battery drive makes it the perfect car for the city: it is agile, economical and climate-friendly. Motoring with zero local emissions in an urban environment has become a reality. This equates to driving fun with no compromises."

Electric drive factored in from the very first concept

The smart fortwo electric drive is a smart fortwo that does not make any compromises with regard to safety, agility, comfort and space. Electric drives have been part of the smart concept right from the start. The later integration of the components needed for electric drive was planned at a very early stage. For example, there is space for the battery in the underfloor between the axles where the tank is located in other smart models . The electric drive module does not limit the space available in the smart fortwo electric drive in any way; there is just as much interior and luggage compartment space as in a smart fortwo with a combustion engine.

Powerful drive

A 30 kW magneto-electric motor is installed at the rear of the new smart fortwo electric drive and reacts directly without delay. Powerful torque of 120 Newton metres is immediately available. This results in a surprising amount of power when pulling away. The smart fortwo electric drive accelerates from 0 - 60 km/h in 6.5 seconds – just as quickly as a petrol model which it initially leaves behind it. After a year of driving the first generation smart fortwo electric drive in everyday conditions on British roads one of the participants in the large-scale London trial said "You can beat anything at the lights". The maximum speed of the smart fortwo electric drive has been deliberately limited to 100 km/h, a suitable maximum speed for the city.

Thanks to the power characteristic of the electric motor, just one single fixed gear ratio is required. There is no need for any gear changing – a major advantage in dense city traffic. To reverse, the engine's direction of rotation changes. "Fantastic and easy to drive. You just get in, turn on and go" was how experienced users from London summed up the smart fortwo electric drive.

The second generation smart fortwo electric drive is powered by a lithium-ion battery developed by Tesla Motors Inc. with electrical energy of 16.5 kWh. It is simple to charge at any 220 Volt socket. A fully charged battery is sufficient for up to 135 kilometres of driving fun (NEDC). This range is more than enough for city traffic as studies and experience gathered in our fleet tests have shown that cars drive an average of 30 - 40 kilometres per day in towns and cities. For this, the vehicle only needs to be charged for three hours. At an average speed of 25 - 30 km/h that is normal in German cities, the smart fortwo electric drive can drive for around four to five hours continuously before it needs to be recharged. Plugging the car in overnight will fully recharge the battery.

Electronics optimise the battery status and power consumption

Special electronics ensure that all is well with the battery. This battery management system constantly monitors voltage, electricity and temperature. If one of these parameters reaches a specified limit – for example when driving up long hills at constant peak power (kickdown) – the electronics reduce the power output. However, this is barely noticeable and it rules out the risk of battery overload.

The electronics also monitor the charging process and control the capacity display. The vehicle's power electronics supply the vehicle's separate 12V electrical system with electric current from the battery via a DC/DC converter. In addition, they also control the heating and air conditioning, for example, to minimise the strain on the battery. Clever drivers can air condition their smart fortwo electric drive in advance as long as their vehicle is being charged at home - the long-standing dream of stationary cooling becomes a reality!

Extensive equipment

The new second generation smart fortwo electric drive is based on the smart fortwo coupé/cabrio with high quality equipment. As well as air conditioning with automatic temperature control and pre-air conditioning, the equipment includes the smart entry line radio, electric power steering, electric windows, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, a two-spoke leather steering wheel, leather gear knob and 12-spoke alloy wheels. In addition to the charge status, an ammeter shows the consumption and the recuperated energy. Furthermore, all new second generation smart fortwo electric drives have green painted alloy wheels, green mirror caps, green contrast components and a green tridion cell created with green adhesive foil. The words "electric drive" on the rear and in the mirror triangle also draw attention to the vehicle's special status.

Very low costs

There are also numerous factors in different countries that make electric mobility attractive for customers. Tax relief and other government subsidies play an important role. For example, the state of Monaco offers tax relief of up to €9,000 to electric car owners. Other countries have also set up funding programmes for sustainable mobility. France grants a "super environment incentive" of €5000 for every vehicle emitting less than 60 grams of CO2 per kilometre. In Great Britain there is a bonus of up to ₤5000 and in Belgium of €4540. In Denmark such cars are exempt from the extremely high registration tax and there are lots of further examples in Europe. In the
USA there is a federal tax benefit of up to $7500 plus additional benefits depending on the state or city. China and Japan have announced subsidies of €6,500 and €11,000 respectively.

The maintenance costs are considerably lower than those of a smart with a combustion engine as the battery, motor and other components of the electric drive are maintenance-free.

smart fortwo electric drive in major cities in Europe and the USA

Since the end of 2009 the second generation smart fortwo electric drive has been delivered to selected customers. Leases are offered for a period of four years and 60,000 kilometres. The first vehicles were handed over to customers in December within the framework of the "e-mobility Berlin" project. Here, in cooperation with the energy provider RWE and with the support of the German government and the city of Berlin, Daimler is creating ideal conditions for running battery-driven vehicles with no local emissions. This includes setting up a network of electricity charging stations that enable intelligent communication between electric vehicles and the power network so that the battery can be charged when electricity is cheapest. But as mentioned, the smart fortwo electric drive can also be charged at any household safety socket with a 16 amp fuse (standard in Germany and other countries).

Further new generation smart fortwo electric drive vehicles are already in operation in Paris, Rome, Milan, Pisa, London and the Midlands, Madrid and Zurich. In the autumn of 2010 the smart fortwo electric drive will also take to the roads of cities in the USA and Canada, Portugal, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and several cities in Asia.

There is already a very lively demand for the smart fortwo electric drive, and from 2012 it will be produced in large volumes as a normal part of the smart range and sold via the smart dealer network. This third generation will be fitted with a new lithium-ion battery which Daimler is developing to production maturity in cooperation with Evonik. The lithium-ion battery currently used comes from Tesla and represents state-of-the-art technology. However, further progress is anticipated. The main differences between the two batteries lie in the structural design. The Tesla battery consists of lots of cylinder-shaped cells. The Daimler battery will be made up of fewer but larger plate units. This will first and foremost enable a greater energy density to be achieved (with greater energy content for a higher range) and an even longer life.

With the smart fortwo electric drive the cult brand is underlining its pioneering roll on the road to attractive individual mobility with no local emissions in cities and urban areas. Dr. Joachim Schmidt, Head of Sales and Marketing Mercedes-Benz Cars says "All in all we believe that the outlook for electric mobility is good. Whilst our competitors are still presenting electric show cars, smart brought a production model that is fully suitable for everyday use to the roads last year. This once again demonstrates our technical expertise and responsibility."

Copyright © 2010, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.

Leave a comment

smart at the Paris Motor Show 2010 - PART II


Paris, France, Sep 30, 2010

smart ebike: Versatile high-tech bike with 4-level electric boost

With the new ebike, smart is presenting its second idea for locally emission-free electric mobility on two wheels. The trend-setting electric bicycle study, which will be premiered at the Paris Motor Show 2010 together with the highly regarded smart escooter is suited for both effortless city biking and sporty use. Unlike the scooter, the ebike´s drive is not controlled via the throttle grip. Instead, it delivers extra power when the rider pedals. The muscle power-electric hybrid drive offers four power levels. The high-tech bike also sets standards in terms of appearance and concept, starting with the futuristic look and the discretely designed lightweight wheels to the technical features in detail. Characteristics that the ebike and the escooter have in common are typical smart design features, simple handling and the integration of smartphones: the smart drive kit app that has been further developed also performs numerous functions for the ebike, for example those of a speedometer and a navigation system.

In addition to its eye-catching design and innovative technology, the new smart ebike has a special feature: its versatility. The electric drive conserves the rider's strength in everyday use – for example on the way to school, university or work. Thanks to "electric power", there is no longer any need to be afraid of hills. In addition, the high-tech ebike is simple to operate without conventional gear shifting. At the same time it is great for a sporty workout: the electric drive integrated in the rear wheel does not offer unlimited assistance and is automatically cut off at 25 km/h. Besides, the rider's fitness is the only thing to limit the maximum speed that can be achieved. And incidentally, "pedelecs" (Pedal Electric Cycle) have a further practical advantage for all "bikers": no driving licence is needed as they do not reach electrically driven speeds above 25 km/h.

Dr Annette Winkler, head of smart, says "The brand smart becomes even more electric with the ebike: Following the fortwo and the escooter, many old and new smart fans may choose the way they move in the city even more individually and adapt it better to their individual life, the weather and their personal mood. People of all ages, with or without a driving licence, fit or not will enjoy experiencing the world by bicycle, also over longer distances. As long as power and shape suffice, the own fitness is the “engine”. But also if the electric drive is started, the ebike remains locally emission-free - except of one own´s breath. With a long range of typical attributes such as the character defining design and the safety features, also the bike shows: smart is intelligent.”

Sporty lightweight construction with typical smart design elements

The smart ebike boasts a clear design idiom and an "uncluttered" independent appearance. The frame construction is obviously solid and at the same time also very elegant. It consists of aluminium profiles that are lightweight yet torsionally rigid thanks to large cross sections and ensures a strong direct connection between the steering-head bearing and the crankcase. The smart ebike weighs approximately 22 kilograms, making the smart among the electric bicycles one of the lightweights in its segment.

The rear wheel is also suspended by large and accordingly sturdy aluminium profiles, which means that there is no need for the supporting struts usually found in the rear wheel area of other bicycles. Technical components such as Bowden wires or cables are not visible and this contributes to the harmonious and clear overall impression.

The design of the cladding on the lower frame segment is based on the bodypanels of the smart fortwo and underlines the affiliation with the brand. The dynamic look is rounded off by filigree 26 inch lightweight wheels with six double spokes which enhance ride comfort thanks to good intrinsic damping, and can also cope well with rough road surfaces or a "short cut" over a kerb.
The smart ebike was designed and realised in cooperation with the Berlin e-bike manufacturer GRACE based on concrete ideas and specifications from the smart designers. The company specialises in high quality and fully integrated electric bikes. The project was led by Karlheinz Nicolai, who enjoys an excellent reputation in the two-wheeler industry as a developer and design engineer of high-tech bicycles.

Active bend lighting for maximum visibility in the dark

The front headlamp, which is not fitted on the frame but rather integrated in the handlebar, provides for greater active safety. It has the same effect as active curve illumination on cars: the state-of-the-art full LED headlamp follows every steering movement and ensures the best possible illumination of the area in the direction of travel. This solution – like the LED rear lamp integrated in the underside of the saddle – also adds to the pleasing aesthetics as these two mounted parts are positioned so elegantly that they do not interrupt the overall styling.

Hybrid drive with muscle power and electric drive

According to the technical definition, the ebike has a hybrid drive - a combination of muscle power and an electric drive. The electric "booster" is a 250 watt brushless direct current wheel hub motor that is integrated in the rear wheel. The propulsion current is stored in a compact lithium-ion battery with voltage of 36 volts and capacity of 9.6 Ah. The battery pack is housed above the pedal crankcase on the frame and is concealed by the frame panelling. The charge socket for the battery charger is located below the pedal-crank bearing. The ebike can be charged at any normal household socket – just like a notebook. The battery can be fully charged in two to three hours. The energy recuperated during braking is stored in the battery during the journey.

Plug and play: insert smartphone – and off you go!

Like on the escooter, a smartphone is also used on the ebike. It assumes various functions during the ride, for example those of a speedometer or a heart rate monitor. At the same time the smartphone is both a "starter" and an immobiliser: when it is placed in the specially designed mount it automatically activates the drive system. When the rider removes the smartphone the ebike is automatically locked and protected against theft.

The electric drive is switched on as soon as the rider starts pedalling like on a normal bicycle. Muscle power is also transmitted to the rear wheel in accordance with the classic bicycle principle: from the pedals via the crank bearing to the final drive. A special feature of the ebike is that a belt pulley and a toothed belt assume the tasks of the chain wheel and chain. These are silent and – like the other components of the drive system – they do not require any maintenance.

Four level boost effect

The rider decides how much power he wants the electric drive to deliver to support his muscle power by pressing a button on the handlebar. There is a choice of four power levels with the fourth and strongest level providing maximum pushing power. Depending on the level of assistance the bike has a range per battery charge of 30, 50, 70 or 90 kilometres – more than ample for the distances covered in everyday use. If the rider changes the "booster" power during the journey, the remaining range will vary depending on the power used. The gear ratio is automatically adjusted in two levels depending on the speed. The maximum speed depends on the terrain and the energy expended by the rider. At a speed of more than 25 kilometres per hour the electric drive automatically stops providing assistance – and the ebike becomes a pure “muscle bike”.

Safe braking – with energy recuperation

The front and rear wheels are each equipped with a state-of-the art hydraulic disc brake for safe and efficient braking. In addition, the rear wheel is braked "electrically" via the resistance of the wheel hub motor. When the brakes are applied, the operating principle is reversed, and the drive becomes a generator whose resistance provides the required braking effect – just like on the escooter. The resulting braking energy is recuperated, i.e. it is converted into electrical energy and stored in the bike's lithium-ion battery.

The smartphone as a control and communication centre

As well as its functions in controlling the vehicle, the smartphone – which is charged during the ride – also serves an important role as a trip computer. During the ride it informs the rider about the battery charge status and the present and average speed, and it can also be used as a navigation system. Furthermore, the rider has mobile internet access via the smart drive kit app and can use numerous further applications such as internet radio, music playlists and telephone book. A GPS tracking function also shows where the bike is parked.

Additional smartphone-specific applications are conceivable for the further development. For example, on winter or rainy days and whenever four wheels are the more practical alternative, networking with the successful car2go mobility concept is possible. All in all the new ebike perfectly embodies the smart philosophy of intelligent urban mobility that is consistently geared to sustainability. Like its automotive counterpart, the smart fortwo electric drive, it offers numerous convincing advantages - ecologically, economically and functionally. Exemplary environmental compatibility is guaranteed in every respect. On the one hand the ebike has no local emissions and does not need any fossil fuels or lubricants. On the other hand all components are 100 percent recyclable. It combines low operating costs with functional advantages – from simple operation to the fact that finding a parking space in the city is not an issue at all for ebikers. Furthermore, in addition to practical advantages in everyday use, the integration of the smartphone means that the ebike is also easy to integrate in new mobility concepts.

smart ebike and escooter behind the scenes
smart ebike:
smart escooter:

Copyright © 2010, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.

Leave a comment


Swedish Greys - a WordPress theme from Nordic Themepark. Converted by