Mercedes-Benz Concept BlueZERO E-CELL PLUS: Petrol-Electric Hybrid Hints at Production Model

Mercedes-Benz will be presenting an updated version of its BlueZERO E-Cell concept car at this month's Frankfurt Motor Show. Originally presented in Detroit at the beginning of the year, BlueZERO E-Cell is propelled exclusively by a battery-powered electric drive that allows the car to travel up to 200 km or 125 miles on a single battery charge. The Frankfurt Show-bound 'PLUS' ads a rear-mounted 67HP 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder gasoline engine to the mix.

Sourced from the Smart Fortwo, the three cylinder engine is hooked up to a generator and is used exclusively to provide juice for the electric motor - just as in the case of the Chevy Volt. With this configuration, the car has a total range of up to 600 km (375 miles), of which up to 100 km (62 miles) can be covered solely on electricity.

The concept hatch is equipped with a high-performance, 18 kWh lithium-ion battery that can store enough power within around 30 minutes for a 50 km (31 miles) cruising range while the complete electric range of 100 km (62 miles) requires a charging time of a little more than an hour. Mercedes said that charging time with a standard charge cycle at a conventional household outlet with 3,3 kW is around 6 hours.

The BlueZERO E-CELL PLUS' electric motor that produces 100kW or 136 horsepower and a maximum torque of 320 Nm, drives the front wheels. According to 'das' Germans, the car can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62mph) in less than eleven seconds while the vehicle's top speed is electronically limited to 150 km/h (93mph).

The 4.22-meter-long BlueZERO models are based on the sandwich-floor architecture known from the A-Class and B-Class. It is believed that the concept model will form the base for a production model in the very near future.