Diesels are a popular engine choice in Europe today, due to the lower cost of diesel fuel and the impressive mileage. I have always speculated that the German manufacturers would combine the fuel efficiency with hybrid electric technology. That seem to make sense since they would combine their most fuel efficient powertrain with a electric hybrid technology to stretch the fuel economy.
Mercedes announced the production of the S400 BlueHybrid, based on the S350 model. The vehicle should be launched this summer as a 2010 model. Mercedes diesels are not the diesels of the 1980's with slow acceleration, noise and noticeable particulate exhaust.
Mercedes today produces the cleanest diesels available on the market today....with their Bluetec diesel engine and exhaust technology. Diesels burn less fuel than gasoline vehicles so they also produce substantially lower emissions of carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide, which is actually comparable or better than the gasoline version.
Bluetec diesels utilize AdBlue injection, which is a process that adds precisely measured quantities of urea into the exhaust stream. This process enhances the long term emissions performance to meet all U.S. 50-state emission standards. California's requirements have kept new diesel automobiles models out of the California for almost ten years.
Mercedes plans on manufacturing the S400 with a lithium battery. The 3.5 liter gasoline engine develops 279 hp. and the electric motor generates 20 hp. The result is a combined output of 299 hp. and 220 kw.
Mercedes has been able to build a luxury diesel-hybrid with an estimated 40 Miles per gallon...and the power of a V8. Performance is also exceptional at 0-60 mph accelerations of 7.3 seconds. Pricing for the S400 BlueHybrid is $110,350 plus, which is a $21K premium over the 2009 S550 model.
This is a super achievement for Mercedes.....a 40 MPG luxury automobile. The 2009 S550 averaged 17 MPG. These figures are even more impressive when considering that the S-Class is a large heavy luxury sedan. The additional cost is expensive versus the cost of gasoline...but it is one green machine.