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Mercedes Concept BlueZero: first pictures

Tue, 16 Dec 2008

By Ben Pulman

First Official Pictures

16 December 2008 11:00

Mercedes will present three zero-emissions concept cars at the Detroit motor show in January 2009. Dubbed Concept BlueZero, the trio of vehicles is designed to showcase eco-friendly cars with everyday practicality – and demonstrate Mercedes’ single vehicle architecture that is used as the basis for all three.

It's a bit complicated, this. All three B-class sized cars look the same, apart from their garish paint jobs. That lime green car is the BlueZero E-cell with a battery drive.

Then there's the bright orange E-cell Plus. It packs the E-cell's battery drive, but boosted by the turbocharged 1.0-litre engine from the Smart ForTwo to give an overall 370-mile range.

The final car to make up the trio is the F-cell, a fuel-cell vehicle with a 248-mile range. Merc isn't putting all its eggs into one basket with this programme...

Mercedes says the basis for the BlueZero range is a sandwich system similar to that first introduced on the A-class a decade ago. That means good crash performance, with the drivetrain kept separate from the passengers in the event of an accident, plus interior space that isn’t encroached on by the batteries or fuel-cell system.

Each BlueZero car has the same design, with transparent wheelarch covers, aero-optimised 20-inch alloys, low rolling resistance tyres and solar panels embedded into the roof.

Inside there's space for five and more than 500 litres of luggage space – it's just a pity that people can see into your boot via the clear (and lightweight) Lexan panels. Each concept is front-wheel drive, limited to 93mph and promises to reach 62mph in under 11 seconds.

From 2009, promises to start building B-class based fuel-cell cars on a small scale, and the ML450 Hybrid and the S400 Hybrid are also due to go into production. In 2010 we'll then see the start of series-production of the Smart ForTwo ED, followed by Bluetec Hybrid version of the S-class and new E-class.

By Ben Pulman