Mercedes plans to release a diesel-hybrid SUV capable of 40 miles per gallon, with cleaner emissions than your standard car. Demo’d at the 2008 Geneva Auto show, the SUV is built on Mercedes’ relatively new BlueTec emissions control technology—a combination of catalytic converters and advanced chemical processing that scrubs out the worst pollutants produced by the diesel engine.
The 4-cylinder, 214 horsepower engine will also break the world’s record for lowest carbon emissions (157 g/km) in an SUV.
The new Vision GLK BlueTec hybrid sports a standard hybrid-electric system: An electric motor seamlessly supplements the 2.2 liter diesel engine during fuel-intensive acceleration. Regenerative braking repowers the lithium-ion batteries, and start-stop technology shuts the motor off when the car is at a dead stop.
What isn’t standard is the 40 MPG fuel economy, which beats many passenger cars but still gives SUV-hungry consumers the option. I’ve never been that impressed by sub-30 MPG hybrids (or straight 30, like the original Ford Escape Hybrid SUV) even if the industry claims the hybrid drivetrain boosts fuel economy on any model by 25%.
It isn’t clear from the story when we might expect to see this model released, but if I had to guess I would say 2010—which seems to be the year for big changes in green car technology.
Will Mercedes support a 40 MPG biodiesel SUV? Don’t count on it. At this point Mercedes only supports a B5 biodiesel blend in their common-rail (CDI) diesel engines.
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