The Green Future of Mercedes-Benz
(Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of Daimler AG. And yes, there are people in those bubbles. Image: Jacob Gordon)
Here in the US, Daimer AG (umbrella company to Mercedes-Benz and Smart) hasn't done much to sell itself as a green brand. But after spending the better part of a week in Germany, talking with some of Daimler's top brass and taking in the Frankfurt auto show, it's clear to me there's a lot to discuss.
The Mercedes-Benz brand is being steered towards a vision of zero emissions by way of an array of next-generation technologies. Hydrogen fuel cells, hybrids, plug-ins, battery electrics, and clean diesel engines are all getting heavy investment from the luxury car maker. The next few years will see some dramatic products offerings from the Mercedes-Benz and Smart lines. Here's a quick overview of the green car goings on over at Daimler.(Thomas Weber, Daimer AG chief of research and development. Image: Jacob Gordon)
The opening ceremonies in the Mercedes pavilion at the Frankfurt auto show (IAA) commenced with a Cirque de Soleil-esq performance by pod-encapsulated acrobats swaying on long poles, and was punctuated with sax-blowing starlets and the obligatory billows of smoke. But amid the fog was the message of a company actively embracing the very necessary divorce of cars and fossil fuels.
Check out our slideshow of the 2009 Frankfurt auto show.
A Keynote addresses by Chairman Dieter Zetsche opened with his message that the vision of Karl Benz, to bring people "the best of the best," is being carried forward under the banner of bringing people "the best of what's green." Daimler Chief of Design, Thomas Weber followed "Dr. Z" by outlining a unique triple platform technology that represents the cutting edge of the Mercedes reinvention (more details on this to come).
(The new SLS AMG will be available as a fully electric in 2013)
Even the ultimate eye candy moment-the unveiling of the redesigned SLS AMG, with gullwing doors and V8 engine-was tinted green with the announcement that this luxury speedster will be available as an EV in 2013. (Owning 10% of Tesla Motors is the kind of thing that comes in handy when delivering on a promise like that.)
In subsequent posts I'll be plumbing deeper into Daimler's individual programs like it's BlueZERO triple platform technology, the S 500 plug-in hybrid, and the second-generation Smart EV.
For more, check out:
9 Electric Cars That Were The Buzz of Frankfurt Auto Show
Talking Green Cars with Sascha Simon, Advanced Product Planning for Mercedes-Benz USA
Detroit Auto Show 2009: Mercedes BlueZERO Concept in the Flesh
Mercedes Unveils BlueZERO Trio of Electric Concept Cars
Mercedes Gets It: Plans to Eliminate Fossil Fuels from Car Lineup by 2015