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DaimlerChrysler to Advance Launch of BLUETEC in Europe; Hybrid smart On Sale in October

DaimlerChrysler is advancing the introduction of BLUETEC diesel engine emissions reduction technology in Europe with a BLUETEC E300 to be available as early as December of this year. The company will also offer its micro-hybrid version of the smart fortwo (earlier post) beginning in October.

Dr. Thomas Weber, the Board Member of DaimlerChrysler AG responsible for Group Research and Mercedes Car Group Development, announced the advancement of the introduction of BLUETEC and the launch of the smart hybrid during the presentation of the latest DaimlerChrysler Sustainability Report.

Unless we want to satisfy our present-day needs at the expense of future generations, we need to act not only with environmental, but also with economic and social responsibility. Both products [the E300 BLUETEC and the smart micro hybrid] are precursor[s] of a series of specially low-emission vehicles to come.

—Dr. Weber

According to the report, DaimlerChrysler reduced CO2 emissions in production by 8.5% in 2006  in comparison with the previous year. In addition, further advances were made in terms of engine-related improvements through the introduction of new technologies such as direct gasoline injection and piezo injectors in diesel engines.

There are still plenty of avenues left to explore. This is why our research and development work is mainly focused on further optimization of the internal combustion engine, besides the development of alternative power trains. Our goal is to make the petrol engine as efficient as the diesel and the diesel as clean as the petrol engine.

—Prof. Herbert Kohler, Vice President Group Research and Advanced Engineering Body and Powertrain as well as Chief Environmental Officer at DaimlerChrysler

All coming DaimlerChrysler vehicles will be developed with a hybridization option.

Resources:

Comments

Rafael Seidl

Introducing BLUETEC options in Europe at the same time as in the US is a smart pro-active PR defense by Mercedes IMHO. Even if actual customer acceptance proves to be tepid at first, no-one will be able to accuse Mercedes of withholding an emissions control technology from its home market just because it isn't legally required yet.

Traditionally consumers have not volunteered to pay a whole lot extra for reduced emissions. No-one wants to be called a polluter but neither does anyone want to be the sucker who pays for clean technology when his neighbors cannot be bothered. German carmakers were caught by surprise when their customers did demand DPFs once the technology was proven viable by Peugeot. They had spent a lot of R&D euros on meeting Euro 4 without these devices, but got little credit for it. Instead, they had to hastily re-engineer their products to support DPFs, effectively meeting the PM standard for Euro 5 several years early.

However, consumers then went on to force the government to subsidize the 600 EUR end user premium for a DPF. Much the same applied in Austria.

NOx aftertreatment is even more expensive than DPFs and, unlike soot, you can't see NOx. The type of brown smog layers observed in LA or the Bay Area are virtually unheard of in Europe. It's far from clear that any European government will be prepared to subsidize BLUETEC as well - though I'm sure Mercedes would be happy if they did!

Tokyo Joe

"Social Responsibility"? "Reducing CO2 emissions by 8.5%"? Until Germans impose speed limits and stop driving on the autobahn at 200kmh plus, who can take them seriously when it comes to reducing pollution and CO2 emissions? Before introducing high tech pollution controls they should introduce speed limits. How about a speed limiter option on all new DaimlerChryler vehicles? Bet that would go down well.

MH

Tokyo,

As far I know not everybody drives 200kmh in the autobahn. Depending on traffic conditions the autobahn is not always unlimited and not every highway in Germany does have that possibility, not to mention the rest of Europe. Most markets where German automakers sell they're models have speed limits (village, road, highway), in some cases strictly enforced. It’s wrong to assume that most miles are driven way above the speed limits (In Portugal, where I live, the average departure above the highway speed limit (120Kmh) is around 10%), so it makes sense taking measures to reduce the specific emissions per mile. Considering the billions of miles driven every year everywhere it will make lots of difference in Russian oil imports and GHG emissions.

Patrick

Talk about social responsibility...try visiting the NorthWest region of the US.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003770809_speedy02m.html

This liberally saturated with environmentalist area is very prolific with people exceeding the speed limits on the highway.

Stan Peterson

Unlike many other phony announcements this actually is a GOOD announcement. The EU 6 regulatory farce as it recedes from 2017 implementation, makes a mockery of the EU Greens concern for the environment.

Propagating mild hybrids throughout the lineups, makes a lot of sense, especially for city cars which are expected to see lots of stop-starts and situations for expected idling.

Lad

Europeans have suffered dirty diesel ICEs for decades. Even as far back as 1954, I heard them complain about the diesel fuel smells and the smoke. It is no wonder they now want soot-free cities, freed from diesel smoke by particulate filters and freed from SO2 fumes by ultra-refined fuels.

I can't help but think that many Central Europeans would dump their diesels and embrace PHEVs and BEVs right away, if they were available. Central Europe is rather unique because they have excellent local, intermediate and long distant high speed mass transit for commuting. I believe a clean electric city car, for personal use, would fit right into the mix.

Max Reid

Smart Hybrid is interesting, but pretty soon such cars will come from Asia and cost around 7-8 K and will sell like hot-cakes.

Will be good if the company reduces the price of this tiny vehicle.

DB

Very true Max. What was the name of the possible Toyota competitor to the Smart cars? At least in the US, the Japanese cars would sell 20 to 1 compared to the Benz Smart vehicles because of lower price and reliability track records. Considering that the US is the world's largest car market, that is no small happenstance.

I must see 4 Japanese vehicles for every European car in the US.

Michael

...the name of the Toyota competitor to Smart is AYGO and PSA 107/C1. This car has room for 4 adults and consumes less fuel than the Smart. No wonder why Smart is doing badly.

@Rafael: Good point!

Mirko

Tokyo Joe,
I have to disagree with you.
First, the problem of the world are not E-classes going 250 to once-a-year vacation, but Suburbans going stop-go with single lady inside going to her daily desk job.

Second, we all must pollute somewhat in order to live our lives. Everyone has a right to choose what "quality of life" means to him. To me, "quality of life" means going 200 in my Alfa, on an occasional weekend or business trip, because I don't want to spend more time in a car then I have to. I have other things to do. My Alfa does consume
about 15 l/100 km doing it, but that is my choice. As I have said, I do that occasionally.

On the other hand, I live in 140000 people town, and my daily commute is 10km long in both directions. I could move to a city where my daily commute would have been 10 times as much. People that work in cities (because of quality jobs they can get there) can drive 90kmh if they want on a highway, they are still destroying Earth much more then me. Living in a city is "quality of life" to them. Would you force everyone to relocate and disband every city in the world?

Mirko

P.S. I'm not trying to start discussion of mass transport, because we will never have a usably quick mass transport in every 3000 people village 100km from a city.

Rafael Seidl

@ Stan -

Euro 6 is due to come in to force for LDVs in 2014, not 2017. I am not aware of any concrete plans to postpone this, though I expect a few car company executives might like it to be.

@ Lad -

you're right to assert that diesels have been an environmental problem in Europe for a long time, but emissions regulations have been tightened rapidly since Euro 1 came into force as recently as 1992. Almost all current-generation diesel LDVs already feature a wall-flow PDF either as standard equipment or as an available option. Most of the pollution these days is coming from legacy vehicles, especially those over 10 years old.

European diesel has been at 50ppm sulfur for quite a while, with 10ppm becoming mandatory by 2010. In a number of countries, e.g. Austria, that lower target has been met for a few years now. Indeed, concentrations tend to hover around 3ppm in real life.

The former Soviet Bloc countries that joined the EU in 2005 also signed up to current EU regulations for both cars and fuels, a huge leap forward for them in terms of public health. However, in places like Romania and Bulgaria, people would be happy if they could afford a new Dacia Logan - never mind a smart or any kind of hybrid!

As for NOx cleanup, it's not perceived to be as serious a threat to public health in Europe as it is in parts of the US, because of the more northerly latitude and more favorable metereology. Also, Europeans tend to take long summer vacations, so city traffic is usually light during what would otherwise be smog season.

Instead, the main short-term issue for Europe is energy efficiency across all sectors of the economy. This is marketed under the guise of protecting the climate but the 800lb gorilla in the room is really energy security: Europe (excl. Russia) only ~7% of the proven reserves of crude oil that North America still has. For natural gas, the figure is ~70%. For coal (excl. both Russia and Ukraine) it is ~20%, and much of that is dirty lignite. Only one nuclear reactor in Finland has been newly commissioned since the Chernobyl accident in 1986.

Europe (excl. Russia) is home to ~500 million people and highly dependent on both OPEC and Russia, a trend that is expected to worsen as North Sea production declines over the next decade or two. It really does have bigger fish to fry than Euro 6.

DougH

How about a Diesel Hybrid that ?
http://www.clubsmartcar.ca/forums/viewtopic.php?t=10077

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