Mercedes-Benz has a strong and intelligently-structured vision of the future of the automobile-developing clever, fesable and functional alternative powering solutions is the most appropriate way to adopt for the next generation of models produced under the Three-Pointed Star brand, as petroleum resources are quickly running out.

The road to emission-free mobility is long, hard and highly sinuous. That's why Mercedes-Benz is one of the few carmakers in the world which has started the research in the field of environmentally-friendly vehicle technologies, as early as 2007. The extensive programme comprises an array of thoroughly-designed solutions and logical steps to follow as to achieve the maximum ride efficiency concerning fuel consumption and CO2 emission levels.

The Research & Development Department at Mercedes-Benz, headed by Dr. Thomas Weber, has recently doubled its budget, in the run to offer first-of-the-class technologies in the future models produced by the German constructor, such as the first series production diesel hybrid(the upcoming E 300 BLUETEC HYBRID), the first fuell cell models or the first fully-electric driven supercar(the SLS AMG eDrive).

Sticking to the flagship of the Mercedes-Benz portfolio, the S-Klasse, Dr. Thomas Weber revealed in an interview that the next generation of the high-end luxury limousine will offer its customers the ability to choose from an extensive range of green powertrains. The most eagerly-awaited unit is a plug-in hybrid one, that was previewed last year at IAA Frankfurt, in the form of the VISION S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID. The innovative architecture consists of a completely new 3.5 litres V6 petrol burner making use of direct injection, linked to an electric motor, capable of achieving an output of 60 HP, with the power being transferred to the rear wheels via a 7G-TRONIC gearbox. This configuration enables the car to reduce the overall consumption of only 3.2 litres/100 km, while the gas emission number scores an impressive 74 g CO2/km.

However, Mercedes-Benz engineers will further push the bounderies of this plug-in hybrid technology, and with the introduction of the new S-Klasse (W 222), the fuel consumption may decrease up to 2.9 - 3.0 litres/100 km. In full-electric mode, the car will be able to run over 30 km at speeds up to 110 km/h.

Asked about the new SLS AMG eDrive, Dr. Weber pointed out that the R&D team is aiming an autonomy of little over 200 km;power will come from four electric units, that will together develop a staggering output of 800 Nm.

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