Car Tests & New Models 5.7.2016 12:49 pm

New Mercedes-Benz C 350 e brings plug-in hybrid technology

Benz C 350 e. Picture: www.hybridcars.com

Benz C 350 e. Picture: www.hybridcars.com

Efficiency, dynamism and comfort – the best of three worlds.

Following its premiere in the S-Class, Mercedes-Benz is now offering its most advanced hybrid technology in the C-Class. The dynamism and efficiency of the C 350 e sedan makes it a convincing proposition in this 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.

The new C 350 e delivers the performance of a sports car and yet offers certified consumption figures of just 2.1 litres of fuel per 100km. This corresponds to CO2 emissions of 65 grams per kilometre. The C 350 e is equipped as standard with AIRMATIC air suspension plus a Pre-Entry Climate Control system that can be controlled via the Internet, adding up to a truly exceptional level of driving and climate comfort.

The C 350 e was proudly manufactured in South Africa.

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.

“The successful manufacture of the C 350 e sedan at our award-winning Mercedes-Benz East London plant to exacting world-class standards, is another milestone in our illustrious 68-year history of engineering excellence,” says Arno van der Merwe, CEO Mercedes-Benz South Africa & executive director manufacturing.

The East London plant celebrated a record milestone of 1 million vehicles produced in May 2015, and continues to receive a number of accolades and awards.

The 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.

The C 350 e 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 6.2kWh, which can be charged from an external power source and so makes an effective contribution to the low consumption and emission figures. 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.

The hybrid module of the standard 7-speed automatic transmission 7G-TRONIC PLUS incorporates both the electric motor and an additional clutch between the combustion engine and the electric motor. When driving in all-electric mode, this decouples the combustion engine from the drive train. It also, however, offers the possibility of moving off using the combustion engine but with the performance of a wet start-up clutch. The clutch here is a substitute for the torque converter.

The C 350 e offers all the characteristics of a state-of-the-art hybrid vehicle. These include:

Silent start: the vehicle starts virtually silently and runs in electric mode. At this point the combustion engine is generally held inactive. Electric output of up to 60kW is available for driving in all-electric mode.

Boost: the electric motor kicks in to boost the output of the combustion engine by a further 60kW – for example for rapid acceleration.

Energy recuperation: during braking and coasting, energy is recovered and stored in the battery. This energy can then be used at a later stage for electric driving or the boost function.

The following transmission modes are available:

I Individual: individual definition of the characteristics of the transmission mode, including:

–       Drive system

–       Chassis and suspension

–       Steering

–       ECO Assist

–       Climate control

S + Sport+: maximum boost performance, very sporty gear changes, the combustion engine is always active, particularly stiff suspension and damping settings.

S Sport: enhanced boost performance, sporty gear changes, the combustion engine is always active, stiff suspension and damping settings.

C Comfort: boost performance and recuperation optimised for comfort and consumption, electric drive/ engine shut-off possible up to 130 km/h, comfort-oriented standard settings.

E Economy: boost performance is consumption-optimised, recuperation minimised in favour of coasting distance. All-electric mode and engine shut-off are possible. The ECO Assist is also active.

In addition to selecting a transmission programme, the driver of the C 350 e can also use the operating mode switch to influence the regulation between electric mode and the use of the combustion engine for driving. In the Eco and Comfort transmission modes, the following operating modes are available:

Hybrid: all hybrid functions such as electric operating mode, boost and recuperation are available and are applied according to the driving situation and route in the most fuel-efficient manner.

E-mode: used for all-electric driving – for example in inner-city areas or because the battery holds sufficient charge for the remainder of the journey.

E-save: the charge status of the battery is maintained – for example to allow all-electric driving in an environmental zone at a later stage in the journey. Electric driving and the boost function are only available for a limited extent.

Charge: allows the battery to be recharged while driving using the combustion engine – for example in order to ensure a higher state of battery charge for later parts of the journey. The combustion engine remains switched on and fuel consumption may increase. Electric operation is not possible.

The order book for the Mercedes-Benz C 350 e sedan is open at dealerships throughout Southern Africa and delivery of customer vehicles commences in August 2016.

As with all Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, the C 350 e comes standard with a class-leading six-year/100 000km PremiumDrive maintenance plan.  The C 350 e is exempt from CO2 emission tax as emission levels amount to frugal levels of 65 g/km.

The C 350 e retails at R804 900.

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