Daimler heralds new EV architecture; confirms return of inline six enginesPOSTED BY Nigel Andretti ON 14 June 2016
DAIMLER says it is developing a dedicated, multi-model electric vehicle architecture for battery-powered vehicles.
The global debut will take place at the Paris Motor Show this fall, and the first model is to be launched onto the market before the end of the decade.
Mercedes-Benz said it will benefit not only from its internal development and production expertise but also from the group’s multi-model series modular strategy for alternative drive systems and direct access to key components for electromobility.
With the lithium-ion battery pack supplied by Daimler’s subsidiary Deutsche ACCUMOTIVE and the intelligent operation strategy, Mercedes-Benz expects to deliver purely battery-driven ranges of up to 500km.
Rapid charging using the Combined Charging System (CCS) will make charging and operation of the new BEVs as convenient as possible.
“Our road map has been clearly defined. In addition to hybridised vehicle models and vehicles powered by fuel cells, we are now taking the next step and using a dedicated vehicle architecture for purely battery-driven vehicles,” said Prof Dr Thomas Weber, Member of the Daimler Board of Management, Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, in a statement.
“We are investing heavily in electromobility, and we are convinced that the market is now ready. With the new vehicles we offer, we want to impress the benefits of the new mobility on car owners who have not yet opted for an electric vehicle.”
The smart fortwo coupé electric drive, smart fortwo cabrio electric drive and smart forfour electric drive will also make their latest global debuts at the Paris Motor Show in September 2016. With the debut of the fourth generation of the electric smart, smart will be the only automotive manufacturer in the world to offer its entire range of models with either combustion engines or fully battery-powered.
INLINE SIX RETURNS
Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz has confirmed that it will drop the V configuration for its six-cylinder engines and return to the inline format for its new series of petrol and diesel aluminium engines.
The inline six will come with with a 48V electrical system and an electric motor next year.
Starting with the 2017 facelifted S-Class, the new motor, codenamed M265, marks a return to the straight-six engine configuration for the first time since 1999 for petrol and 2005 for diesel passenger cars.
The trick new mild hybrid system will sit directly in the engine block, attached to the crankshaft acting as both a generator and starter, also providing up to 14kW of power assistance.
Efficiency gains are in the order of 10-15 per cent, with the system expected to be rolled out to the majority of non-hybrid models.
The inline six belongs to the same modular architecture as the OM 654 diesel four-cylinder, which debuted in the E 220 d and will replace V6s across the board.
Other measures already announced include the implementation of Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) as well as plug-in variants of the C-, GLE-, S- and E-Class in both four- and six-cylinder formats.
Continuing development of battery packs will ensure Mercedes has a full suite of plug-in hybrids, as well as the four electric vehicles its plans to launch in the next four years.
The new aluminium engines will be built in both four- and six-cylinder configurations and in both petrol and diesel forms.
The four-cylinder is expected to be 2.0-litres in capacity and the six-cylinder will be 3.0-litres.
Bernhard Heil, vice president of powertrains for Mercedes-Benz, said work began on the new engine family five years ago with several key targets in mind.
The decision to switch back to an inline configuration was driven by several factors, including packaging inside the car.
Another key reason is that all inline variants can be built in the same factory, which means Mercedes can tailor production to meet market demand.
That helps as four-cylinder engines become more popular, reducing the need for a V6 that cannot be shared with an inline four.
“Nowadays the situation is changing a bit,” Heil said. “Eight-cylinder volume is more or less stable, six-cylinder volume is more or less stable (but there is an) increase in four-cylinder volume. That’s why we said it makes sense to combine four and six-cylinder engines.”
The move to turbocharged engines has allowed the Mercedes engineers to repackage the straight six engine, with no need for a complex exhaust manifold to improve torque of a naturally-aspirated engine. That allows the engineers to stand the engine up straighter in the engine bay creating more space.
With Mercedes committed to adding particulate filters to both its diesel and petrol engines, the inline configuration allows for both the turbocharger and particulate filter to go on one side of the engine. According to Heil that provides a major advantage over a V6 engine which takes up more space in the engine bay with its angled cylinder banks.
The first engine with this new structure is the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel. It will be 17 per cent lighter than the 2.1-litre four-cylinder unit it replaces and fuel consumption improved by 13 percent as a result.
Although the new engine is modular and can be built in both three- and five-cylinder configurations, Mercedes is likely to stick to just four and six.
Existing V-8 and V-12 engines will be updated by performance arm, AMG.