Stuttgart, Germany – Mercedes-Benz will launch its first passenger car with a hybrid drive, the S400 BlueHYBRID, in the summer of 2009. The model will use a modified V6 gasoline engine with compact hybrid module with a lithium-ion battery specially developed for automotive use.

Based on the S350, the S400 BlueHYBRID uses a 3.5-litre engine, an additional magneto-electric motor, and seven-speed automatic transmission configured for the hybrid module. The system is a mild hybrid, with the electric motor boosting the gasoline engine during acceleration, along with an auto-stop function that switches off the engine when stopped, such as at traffic lights. 

Mercedes-Benz said that its high-voltage lithium-ion battery is the first such unit worldwide to be introduced in a series-production vehicle. When compared to a conventional nickel/metal hydride battery, the new battery has a higher energy density, better electrical efficiency, more compact dimensions and lower weight. It is positioned in the engine compartment, where it replaces the conventional starter battery, with no changes to the interior or trunk space.

Acceleration is zero to 100 km/h in 7.2 seconds, with an electronically-governed top speed of 250 km/h. The company said that fuel savings are up to 2.2 L/100 km over the conventional S350, with a 21 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions.

Built in Germany, the S400 BlueHYBRID is planned for market launch in Europe in June 2009, followed by China in August 2009 and North America in September 2009.

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