Battery-powered Benz range unveiled in Frankfurt

Daimler AG unveiled a number of new electric and hybrid cars at the Frankfurt Auto Show, saying it plans to keep its focus on luxury and fuel efficiency.

The Stuttgart-based company presented the Mercedes-Benz Vision S 500 plug-in hybrid, a spinoff of the only existing production hybrid from a German carmaker on the market, the S 400 Hybrid.

The Vision is based on a gas-and-electric combination drive and will have gas mileage of better than 3.9 litres per 100km.

Daimler said it would be some time before the company could bring the car to series production, but it could probably be included in the next generation of the S-Class.

"All of this shows that our top models will also be able to combine automotive fascination with responsibility for the environment," Daimler chief executive Dieter Zetsche said.

Daimler also said it will put its first fuel-cell car on the road by the end of this year, on a small scale, the B-Class F-Cell. The electric car will perform similar to a 2-litre standard engine.

The F-Cell car will have an electric equivalent output of about 136 horsepower (100kW), and have a range of over 1000 kms.

Daimler said it will also develop a high-performance electric sports car, its Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.

Daimler said in its pilot phase, the car incorporates a liquid-cooled, high-voltage lithium-ion battery. The 400-volt battery is charged when the car's brakes are used while it is being driven. Four electric motors drive the car, with one transmission per axle, Daimler said.

Daimler also announced other new products at the show, including a new SLS AMG standard model and a new E-Class station wagon. The E-Class sedans have been contributing strongly to the carmaker's sales in recent months.

Originally appeared in the New Zealand Herald

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