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Merc launches locally-assembled fuel-sipping C 350 e hybrid

POSTED BY Nigel Andretti ON 06 October 2016

THE C 350 e, offering Mercedes-Benz’ most advanced hybrid technology yet in the C-Class is now available locally assembled in Malaysia.

“Mercedes-Benz Malaysia was the first premium manufacturer to locally produce a hybrid model in Malaysia with the S 400 h in 2014, and the first diesel-hybrid – the E 300 BlueTEC Hybrid in 2015. Today, as part of our EEV offensive strategy, we are proud to present the C 350 e as our third locally-assembled hybrid vehicle,” Mark Raine, Vice President, Sales & Marketing Passenger Cars, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (below) said.

“With the introduction of the C 350 e, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia once again sets another benchmark with superior hybrid technology for maximum efficiency, coupled with powerful dynamic performance and an exceptional value for the Malaysian customer.”

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The C 350 e is Mercedes-Benz Malaysia’s first model to feature plug-in hybrid technology. Thanks to the combination of combustion engine and electric drive, hybrid drive systems deliver impressively low consumption, but with high performance.

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 and so makes an effective contribution to the low consumption and emission figures. The battery is water-cooled, weighs around 100 kilograms and is mounted in a sheet steel housing underneath the rear axle in order to maximise crash safety, driving dynamics and boot space.

With an intelligent on-board charging system, the battery can be recharged in about one hour, 45 minutes at a wallbox (230 V, 16 A, 3.7 kW single-phase).

Alternatively, charging via a standard domestic socket is of course also possible. Depending on the connection, a charge time of around two hours is achievable (with 230 V and 13 A, 3.0 kW).

The C 350 e still has a boot capacity of 335 litres or 1370 litres with the rear-seat backrests folded down with a level load compartment floor.

In the new Mercedes-Benz C 350 e, this hybrid drive concept is combined for the first time with an efficient two-litre four-cylinder petrol engine producing 211 hp and maximum torque of 350 Nm.

The electric motor of the C 350 e has an output of up to 60 kW and delivers torque of 340 Nm which gives the engine a total power output of 279 hp and a massive 600 Nm of torque.

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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. However, it also 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.

Despite all this power at the driver’s command, the car provides the ride comfort of a premium saloon, along with fuel consumption and environmental compatibility bettering that of some small cars.

The C 350 e accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 5.9 seconds, with a top speed of 250km/h, in conjunction with certified fuel consumption of 2.1 litres per 100 kilometres.

This corresponds to CO2 emissions of 48 grams per kilometre. The C 350 e also offers the possibility of driving up to 31 kilometres in all-electric mode, and thus completely free of CO2 emissions locally – for example in the city.

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 60 kW 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 60 kW – 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.

One new feature of the C 350 e is the haptic accelerator pedal, which helps to reduce fuel consumption and thus also exhaust emissions. It provides two types of information:

If, when driving in electric mode, the driver’s foot meets a point of resistance on the accelerator pedal, this is an indication that maximum electric performance is being delivered.

If the driver continues to depress the accelerator beyond this resistance point, the combustion engine will kick in.

A double impulse from the ECO Assist function signals that the driver should remove their foot from the accelerator pedal in order to switch off the combustion engine and decouple it from the drive train.

Assuming that the driver does what the double impulse suggests, the intelligent engine management system of the C 350 e will vary the deceleration mode between unpowered (sailing) and recuperation, using data from the car’s radar systems as its basis.

The complex technology of the C 350 e makes it no more difficult to drive than a conventional vehicle with automatic transmission. But anyone wanting to can also intervene manually and regulate the hybrid interplay themselves, with the help of five operating modes and three transmission modes. This is done via an operating mode switch and a transmission mode switch located in the centre console. A display in the middle of the instrument cluster shows the current setting.

Sport+ provides 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. If the navigation system’s route guidance function is switched on and the Hybrid operating mode selected, the system will control the charge status of the high-voltage battery according to the route, ensuring that the electric operating mode is used as far as possible in built-up areas. The ECO Assist is also active.

ECO Assist activates an additional function, using the radar technology behind the standard proximity warning system in order to do so.

If the radar system identifies a slower-moving vehicle ahead, it sends a double impulse through the accelerator pedal to signal to the driver to take their foot off the accelerator. The vehicle will then adjust its deceleration automatically, using the electric motor to do so. In this way frequent braking, particularly in stop-and-go traffic, can be avoided.

The driver 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 therefore only available to 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.

In the transmission modes S+ and S, the “hybrid” operating mode is activated. In the “Individual” mode, the choice of available operating modes depends upon the drive system setting.

To effectively employ the modes, the battery should be at full charge.

Air suspension and Pre-Entry Climate Control are standard features as well as an LED Intelligent Light system with Adaptive Highbeam Assist, which makes driving with permanent high-beam possible by masking detected road users in the cone of light for the first time.

The C 350 e offers the same extensive range of safety and assistance systems as all other C-Class models. Two of the systems fitted as standard are ATTENTION ASSIST, which can warn of inattentiveness and fatigue, and COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS, which protects against collision at speeds of over 7 km/h and, if the danger remains and the driver fails to react, can also undertake autonomous braking at speeds of up to 200 km/h and by so doing reduce the severity of an accident involving a slower-moving vehicle.