2011 Mercedes-Benz E300 Bluetec Hybrid

2011 Mercedes-Benz E300 Bluetec Hybrid

Mercedes-Benz is raising the bar in the hybrid segment with the unveiling today of the world’s first production diesel-electric hybrid vehicle at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. Mercedes-Benz is using its E-Class platform to showcase its latest powertrain and promises the car will be on sale--at least in Europe--early next year.

The new model is called the E300 Bluetec Hybrid, indicating that it combines a frugal diesel engine with an electric motor. Engineers have in fact combined a 2.1-liter CDI turbodiesel engine rated at 204 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque with an electric motor outputting 20 horsepower and 147 pound-feet and running on lithium-ion batteries.

One distinctive feature is that the drivetrain is only a mild hybrid, which means the electric motor will only add power to that of the combustion engine, as well as restarting it from stops. It won’t be capable of running in all-electric mode like such full hybrids as the Toyota Prius.

Despite the drawbacks of the mild hybrid system, initial testing has shown a fuel economy of 57 mpg for the European combined cycle. That equates to CO2 emissions of just 109 g/km.