Issue: Feb 2009


Daimler AG and Continental receive “Yellow Angel” award for lithium-ion technology



World-first integration of a lithium-ion battery in a mass-produced passenger car

by Jon Knox

The ADAC (German Automobile Association) has awarded its “Gelber Engel 2009” (Yellow Angel) to Daimler AG and its sys-tems partner Continental in the Innovation & Environment category. The Stuttgart carmaker was selected for the award by Europe’s largest automobile club in recognition of its lithium-ion battery, the first such battery ever to be successfully integrated into a production passenger car. The Mercedes-Benz S 400 BlueHYBRID featuring this pioneering technology will have its market launch in summer 2009. 

The Stuttgart-based company is the world’s first carmaker to success-fully adapt lithium-ion technology – currently used predominantly in consumer electronics – to the heavy demands of production passenger cars. Daimler AG holds a total of 25 patents that collectively facili-tated the breakthrough in this important technology. A crucial element in the company’s success was its groundbreaking integration of a lith-ium-ion battery into the vehicle’s air-conditioning circuit. As a result of this, the battery unit is able to operate at optimum system tempera-tures between 15-35°C at all times, thus achieving a long service life for use in passenger cars (10 calendar years; 600,000 charging cycles) coupled with maximum efficiency. 

Dr. Thomas Weber, the member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Group Research and Development Mer-cedes-Benz Cars, accepted the “Yellow Angel” award together with Heinz-Gerhard Wente, member of the Board of Management of Con-tinental AG responsible for Human Resources and the ContiTech Di-vision. Daimler’s lithium-ion technology was chosen as the year’s top innovation out of 51 applications from 42 companies by a jury com-prised of experts from the ADAC, the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), the Association of Motor Vehicle Im-porters (VDIK) and the German Association for Motor Trade and Re-pair (ZDK). The number of entries was the highest since the ADAC “Yellow Angel” awards were introduced. 

World’s lowest CO2 emissions for class of vehicle 

The innovative battery will be launched in the new Mercedes-Benz S 400 BlueHYBRID as early as summer 2009. The combination of the V6 petrol engine with the compact hybrid module will make the S 400 BlueHYBRID the world’s most economic petrol-engined luxury sa-loon. NEDC (combined) fuel consumption amounts to just 7.9 litres per 100 kilometres, giving world-best figures for CO2 emissions of just 186 grams per kilometre for this category of vehicle and output. In conjunction with an intelligent energy management system, the new model offers a comprehensive range of hybrid characteristics, includ-ing a user-friendly stop/start function for the petrol engine, boost ef-fect and regenerative braking.

Compact dimensions and much greater efficiency 

The advantage of the lithium-ion battery over conventional nickel-metal hydride batteries lies principally in its compact dimensions combined with much greater efficiency. Compared with NiMH tech-nology, lithium-ion batteries better energy density by 30 percent and power-to-weight ratio by 50 percent. Moreover, they boast a high re-charge efficiency and long service life. Lithium-ion batteries also have the lowest environmental impact of all battery technologies and guar-antee a sustainable and cost-effective feedstock. Their high safety lev-els are on a par with those of current car batteries. 

As Mercedes-Benz’s system partner, the international automotive sup-plier Continental was responsible for software development and over-all system application. A complex battery management system ensures the battery remains within an optimum operating range at all times. The electronics also monitor general functions such as temperature and energy output as compared with battery age. Safety circuits pre-vent the battery from overheating, for example, and a ‘cell supervising circuit’ monitors individual cells so as to guarantee optimum interac-tion. Production of the battery will be overseen by Continental at a new production facility in Nuremberg. 

Already a recipient of several awards 

In its Innovation & Environment category, the ADAC recognises out-standing initiatives, projects or innovations in the fields of road and vehicle safety and environmental protection in road transport and automotive development. Application is open to institutions, organisa-tions, institutes and companies. A basic requirement is that all innova-tions have already been successfully put into practice.
In 2006 Mercedes-Benz received the prestigious award in the Innova-tion & Environment category for the world’s cleanest diesel technol-ogy BlueTEC, achieving the same feat again in 2007 for its Active Brake Assist for trucks.
“Yellow Angels 2009” were awarded in five categories: Car, Brand, Quality, Innovation & Environment and Personality. They are consid-ered one of the most prestigious European car awards and looked upon by consumers as valuable yardsticks, since they take into account cri-teria such as price-performance ratio, practicality, economic effi-ciency, safety and environmental compatibility.
Mercedes-Benz finished runner-up in the Brand category for 2009, as it did with the CLK in the Quality category. In the Car category for 2009 the SLK achieved third place, following a first place with the C-Class in 2008.


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