Mercedes will be introducing its range of BlueZero concept vehicles at the Detroit Motor Show next month.
The BlueZero concept is based on the B Class model and will come in three variants.
The first is called the BlueZero E-Cell, which is an all electric vehicle. It comes with lithium-ion batteries and an electric motor with 100 kW of power and 320 Nm of torque. The range is rather limited, offering about 100 km on a two hour charge. Still, its enough for an intra-city commute.
For covering more distance than that, there is an extended range electric vehicle (EREV), the BlueZero E-Cell Plus. The E-Cell Plus comes with the same batteries and electric motor as the E-Cell but an internal combustion engine is added as a generator to produce electricity to re-charge the batteries and extend the range of the vehicle to 600 km. The engine will be the in-line 3 cylinder turbo petrol (gasoline) engine currently available in the Smart family.
The third variant is the F-Cell, a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle which produces electricity from...hydrogen. Mercedes claims this car will provide the equivalent of 136 hp and 320 Nm of torque, similar to its 2.0 liter diesel engine, while having zero emissions.
It may seem like Mercedes is just putting its technologies on display without committing to any one that would make sense as a real-world solution. Maybe it's hedging its bets and developing all three variants hoping one of them will actually succeed in the market place. But this concept is, at the very least, a hint at what the next generation B Class will be like. And you can bet that by 2010, when the next B Class is due, that there will be at least one alternative fuel variant actually available for sale in your local dealer's showroom.