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Mercedes-Benz to Present BlueZERO Modular Drive Concept for Electric Vehicles at Detroit Show

The BlueZERO concept. Click to enlarge.

Mercedes-Benz will present its near-series electric-drive Concept BlueZERO at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.

Based on a single vehicle architecture, this modular concept allows three models with different drive configurations: the BlueZERO E-CELL with battery-electric drive and a range of up to 200 km (124 miles); the BlueZERO F-CELL (fuel cell) with a range of more than 400 km (249 miles); and the BlueZERO E-CELL PLUS with electric drive and internal combustion engine as range extender. The BlueZERO E-CELL PLUS has an overall range of up to 600 km (373 miles) and can cover a distance of up to 100 km (62 miles) using electric drive alone.

The three BlueZERO variants are based on the sandwich-floor architecture which Mercedes-Benz introduced some ten years ago, initially for the A-Class and then for the B-Class, one of the aims being to integrate alternative drive systems. Advantages of the modified construction include the positive effect of the major drive components on the center of gravity, their space-saving design and the fact that they are extremely well protected within the vehicle underbody.

Our modular system allows different drive configurations for every customer requirement. The modified sandwich-floor platform provides the perfect basis for a wide model range with electric drive systems. We are also developing a new, additional platform for future compact models with power units based on optimized internal combustion engines. The intelligent networking of both architectures enables us to develop our product portfolio extremely flexibly and efficiently. From 2009, we will be producing the first Mercedes fuel-cell cars on a small scale. Small-scale production of Mercedes-Benz cars with battery-electric drive alone will then commence in 2010.

—Dr. Thomas Weber, the member of the Daimler AG Board of Management responsible for corporate research and development at Mercedes-Benz Cars

All three BlueZERO models feature front-wheel drive. The Mercedes engineers have put together a modular system comprising several flexibly combinable drive components. These include liquid-cooled lithium-ion batteries with a storage capacity of up to 35 kWh and a compact electric motor with a maximum output of 100 kW (continuous output 70 kW), which develops a peak torque of 320 Nm.

All three variants accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 11 seconds. Their top speed is electronically limited to 150 km/h (93 mph) in the interests of optimal range and energy efficiency.

With a charging capacity of 15 kW, the lithium-ion batteries in the BlueZERO E-CELL and the BlueZERO E-CELL PLUS can store enough energy for a range of 50 km (31 miles) within 30 minutes. In terms of purely electrical drive, one or two hours of charging time is needed for a range of 100 and 200 kilometers respectively. The charging times are doubled if the charging capacity is 7 kW, as would be the case in a normal household. Both of these BlueZERO vehicles incorporate an electronic control unit that supports intelligent charging stations and billing systems.

At the rear, the BlueZERO E-CELL PLUS has the same 1.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine as the smart fortwo as an additional range extender. This compact three-cylinder powerplant has an output of 50 kW at a constant 3,500 rpm. If required, it can recharge the 17.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack by means of a similarly rated alternator.



Excellent specifications. How many different versions will ever be produced?

At what price? Probably 50+% more than the Volt and 200+% more than the similar BYD-F6 PHEV/BEV.

It is good to see more competition on the horizon.

May the most efficient builders win.


Wow modular components! Nice. Each option has its own merit, so when/if available it will present an interesting, if not, tough choices for consumers. Again, price will be very important.

Henry Gibson

The range extender version is the best option. Fifty kilowatts is far more than enough power. Make a version for the well tested ZEBRA battery. ..HG..


The similar rated alternator is 50KW?
This does seem a sensible approach, Allowing for more refinement innovation allowing higher cost (or better resourced) drive train instead of coffee holders and 3,000+1 different seat positions that all makers tend to be renewing yearly for fashion.
Even Mercedes will need to put up technical offerings within pricing constraints. Along with increasing sales in Asian markets, we already see some practical small car and light commercial offerings.

Bill Young


The Zebra battery is probably not well suited for a personal vehicle. If it sits for an extended time (say a week at an airport) the electrolyte will freeze and then it takes several hours of external power to melt it.

The Zebra is much better suited for a high utilization application with frequent recharges (taxi, bus, delivery truck etc).



Say hello to the 2011 B-class hatchback that will be produced at Mercedes-Benz's Alabama assembly line.


The Zebra is just fine, even parked at an airport.  You can drain it to the grid during the next day's peak period, let it freeze, and re-activate it by cell phone when you board your return flight so it's hot and ready when you step off the airplane.


Interesting that the PHEV concept has almost identical stats to BYD's (currently on sale) F3DM. 62 mile EV range, 50 kW 1 litre engine....


Looks exactly like a Pontiac Vibe. Where is the advanced aerodynamics? Why such a blunt front end? Does it still need a big radiator?



Good observations:

There is a main difference.

The BYD F3DM....PHEV has been on the local market for the last few days and the Mercedes equivalent is still a unique show model and may not be marketed for another 2 or 3 years.

Many will maintain that the quality is not the same but as far as technology is concerned it may be equivalent.

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