Multi-track To Zero Emissions

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Multi-track To Zero Emissions
Multi-track To Zero Emissions

Video: Multi-track To Zero Emissions

Video: Multi-track To Zero Emissions
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Daimler will send an electric smart to the streets by the end of the year. A fuel cell powered B-Class will follow in spring.

By Helmut Weinand

With two different concepts, Daimler is now taking another step towards emission-free mobility. The two zero-emission vehicles E-Smart and B-Class F-Cell will soon be delivered to selected customers. The Smart with a lithium-ion battery as energy storage will start at the end of this year, the B-Class with a fuel cell heart will follow next spring. Private individuals can also apply. The two-seater is good for a range of around 135 kilometers. The four-seater van covers 400 kilometers.

Need for multiple tracks

Jürgen Schenk, chief electrical engineer, justifies the coexistence of both variants with the necessity of having to drive on multiple tracks. Nobody knows exactly where emission-free mobility is going in vehicles. It is better to have two irons in the fire.

Series production for the E-Smart has now started in Hambach, France. Before Christmas, the first cars in Germany will be handed over to selected customers in the leasing process. Other European countries as well as the USA and Canada will follow. The first production stage includes 1000 cars. Sales on a larger scale are expected to begin in 2012.

Financial start-up assistance or toll relief

There is still no talk of a purchase price. But with the current numbers, the cost of the lithium-ion batteries alone is around 10,000 euros per vehicle. For leasing customers, a monthly fee of EUR 833 including VAT is charged for a term of four years; Maintenance, insurance and winter tires included. That makes just under 40,000 euros for four years. Now comes the «fuel» from the socket. After the leasing period has expired, the car must be returned. The B-Class F-Cell will be delivered to 200 customers in Europe and the USA from spring 2010 for € 1,190 a month. With a term of four years and similar conditions, the costs for the tenant amount to more than 57,000 euros.

As with all other providers of alternative drive options, for the Mercedes sales department, long-term customer acceptance depends on the price. But the chances are good, according to Jürgen Schenk. He is hoping for increasing numbers of both vehicles, which will reduce costs. And the state has to act. The model here is Monaco, where the prince gives every buyer of an electric car up to 9,000 euros start-up aid. France offers a “super-environmental bonus” of 5000 euros per vehicle that emits less than 60 grams of CO2 per kilometer. London also has a leading role here. E-cars do not have to pay tolls in the city.

Three euros for 100 kilometers

The Smart can be moved 100 kilometers with electricity costs of two to three euros. With hydrogen, eight euros per 100 kilometers must be expected. Assuming further technical progress, three euros can also be achieved here for the 100-kilometer distance.

It's such a thing with everyday suitability. With Smart, a tenant of an apartment has bad cards. Where should he "refuel" at night?

Owners of a garage with a socket are better off. The batteries are full again after two to six hours. The problems are different with the B-Class. So far there are only eight public hydrogen filling stations in Germany. However, the refueling time of three minutes is not worth mentioning here.

Striking sprint strength

Both cars impress with their astonishing sprint speed, which leads to victory over conventional drives at every traffic light. By looking at the dashboard, you can see that the engine has actually started and is running. I can't hear anything. Even the noiseless gliding takes getting used to. Incidentally, also for pedestrians and cyclists who rely too much on their ears in traffic. Otherwise, the acceptance depends on the price and the sufficient number of electricity and hydrogen filling stations. However, it may still take some time until these requirements are met. (mid)