Motoring News 22.9.2016 12:30 pm

Mercedes-Benz C350e: Best of three worlds

The electric motor has an output of up to 60kW and delivers 340Nm of torque.

Mercedes-Benz is now offering its most advanced hybrid technology in the C-Class. The dynamism and efficiency of the C350e sedan makes it a convincing proposition in its segment.

With a range of 31km in purely electric mode, local emission-free driving is now a reality. Its four-cylinder petrol engine, in conjunction with a powerful electric motor, gives it a total system output of 205kW and torque of 600Nm.

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The C350e delivers the performance of a sports car and yet offers certified consumption figures of just 2.1 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres, it is claimed. This corresponds to CO2 emissions of 65g/km.

The C350e is equipped as standard with Airmatic air suspension and a Pre-Entry Climate Control system that can be controlled through the internet, adding up to a truly exceptional level of driving and climate comfort.

A first for the Mercedes-Benz East London plant is the manufacture of a C-Class with the latest Plug-in-Hybrid technology for both local and export markets. “With an investment of about R100 million in the plant, the Hybrid project comprised of more than 500 new purchase parts, of which 200 were local, including significant changes to the bumpers and wiring harnesses,” said Florian Seidler, Co-CEO of Mercedes-Benz SA and executive director of Mercedes-Benz Cars.

The successful manufacture of the C350e sedan at the plant to exacting world-class standards, is another milestone in the company’s illustrious 68-year history of engineering excellence. In May 2015, the East London plant celebrated a record milestone of one-million vehicles produced and continues to receive accolades and awards.

Logistics division’s project management specialist Liebrecht Otto, confirmed that all employees and contractors involved with the manufacture of these hybrid units were specifically trained to safely work with high voltage components.

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Thanks to the combination of combustion engine and electric drive, hybrid drive systems deliver impressively low consumption, but high performance.

The electric motor is able to replace or support the combustion engine and makes practical use of energy generated while braking, by converting it into electric energy and storing it.
The C350e uses the most advanced form of hybrid technology.

Its electrical energy storage unit is a high-voltage lithium-ion battery with a total capacity of 6.2 kWh, which can be charged from an external power source. The battery is water-cooled, weighs around 100kg and is mounted in a sheet steel housing underneath the rear axle in order to maximise crash safety, driving dynamics and boot space.

Thanks to an intelligent onboard charging system, the battery can be recharged in about 1 hour 45 minutes at a wall-box (230 V, 16 A, 3.7 kW single-phase). Alternatively, charging via a standard domestic socket is also possible. Depending on the connection, a charge time of about two hours is achievable (with 230V and 13A, 3.0kW).

Despite the space taken up by the battery, the C350e still has a boot capacity of 335l.

This hybrid drive concept is combined for the first time with an efficient four-cylinder petrol engine. From a displacement of just under two litres, it produces 155kW and maximum torque of 350Nm.

Its direct injection system with spray-guided combustion uses electronically precise controlled multiple injection and fast multi-spark ignition to deliver outstanding performance.

The electric motor of the C350e has an output of up to 60kW and delivers 340Nm of torque.

The greatest potential for lowering the energy consumption of hybrid drive systems lies in maximising energy recovery during coasting and braking. When the brake pedal is depressed, the electric motor initially takes on the job of decelerating, acting as an alternator.

If firmer braking is required, the disk brakes will intervene mechanically to provide additional grip. This overlap between conventional mechanical braking and the electric braking performance of the electric motor in alternator mode increases effectiveness.

Furthermore, the intelligent engine management system of the C350e works in the background.

The best strategy for efficient operation is anticipatory driving. If the exact destination is known because the relevant data has been entered into the navigation system, charge and discharge of the C350e’s high-voltage battery are controlled to ensure the optimal use of energy over the route.

As with all Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, the C350e comes standard with a class-leading sixyear/100 000km PremiumDrive maintenance plan.

It is exempt from CO2 emission tax as emission levels amount to frugal levels of 65 g/km.

It retails at R804 900.

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