With Volkswagen pushing ahead on its BlueMotion program and BMW heavily promoting EfficientDynamics, it seems as though Mercedes has been left behind when it comes to green technology in its cars. Not so – Mercedes is in fact hard at work, and it's soon to show. The 2009 ML450 hybrid, capable of short stints on electricity alone, will produce 265hp (195kW) from the 6-cylinder engine with an additional 56hp (41kW) contributed by each of two electric assist motors, for a grand total of 377 hp (277kW). This combination will yield what Mercedes claims to be the most efficient SUV in class at 30mpg (7.7L petrol per 100km).

There are also plans for a hybrid S-class sedan in 2009, reports Germany's Automobilwoche, sporting the same 6-cylinder engine, but only one electric assist motor contributing 20 hp (15kW). This model will be followed in 2010 by as a first-of-its-kind diesel-electric hybrid in the S300 Bluetec, and a year later an S400 Bluetec hybrid V8. By then Mercedes expects to include this technology in its E and C-class vehicles as well.

Also scheduled for 2010 is Mercedes' first small-scale test market of a fuel-cell powered electric car, to be propelled by a 136hp (100kW) electric motor. This emission-free vehicle will yield the converted equivalent of 81mpg (2.9L diesel per 100km) with total CO2 emissions from the electricity consumed at approximately 77g/km – nearly 30g/km less than a Toyota Prius.

In the more immediate future, Mercedes looks to focus attention at the upcoming Frankfurt Auto Show on its F700 concept car, powered by a 1.8L turbo-diesel producing 250hp (190kW) yet manages to yield an excellent 44mpg (5.3L per 100km) despite the concept's approximate 3950lb (1.8 metric tons) weight.