As the debate on climate change and transportation continues to widen, encompassing suggestions ranging from the increased use of mini commuter cars to vehicle-free cities, a Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) executive stated that there can and should be a role for the automobile in the decades ahead.
Speaking at the Wired Smart Salon: “Energy + The City” Sascha Simon, department manager of advanced product planning for MBUSA said, “We believe that automobiles — even luxury automobiles — can be environmentally compatible. Technology can and will help to bring down CO2 emissions dramatically in the future without requiring American drivers to give up the personal mobility that is so important to us.”
Simon explained that MBUSA has a long-term plan that will lead to the adoption of next-generation drive trains, and eventually, zero-emission vehicles. This plan encompasses a wide array of alternative energy solutions that will appeal to the needs of consumers while also reducing their carbon footprint.
“Many automakers are making clean vehicles an either/or proposition,” he explained. “Some are focused on hybrids, others on diesel. But if automakers are to be truly successful in reducing emissions, we can’t offer a one-size-fits all-solution. We must offer a variety of vehicles that take into account different driving environments and different consumer comfort levels in adopting new technology.”
Last year, MBUSA introduced BlueTEC clean diesel technology, which is currently available in three SUVs and will be available next year in the E-Class sedan. This technology reduces fuel consumption by 30%.
This fall, MBUSA launched the S400 Hybrid sedan, the first series-production lithium-ion battery powered hybrid, and the ML450 Hybrid, the first full hybrid from a European manufacturer, will be in dealer showrooms shortly. In addition, MBUSA will introduce its first fleet of U.S. fuel cell vehicles next year.
“Globally, we have invested tens of billions of dollars in clean technology research,” Simon said. “We already have an array of technologies, including diesel, hydrogen, electric and natural gas, ready to roll out as consumer needs and government legislation require. No other company has a portfolio structured like this. The trick now is matching each technology to the right time.”
“America has always been a country whose love affair with the automobile is based in no small part on the importance of personal mobility, and that’s unlikely to change in the foreseeable future,” Simon continued. “People want to do their part to fight climate change, but they will do it much more quickly if they can see real benefits while make as few sacrifices as is reasonably possible. That’s why we’re determined to offer a portfolio of vehicles with technology optimized to ensure the consumer can easily adopt and embrace it.”
About Mercedes-Benz USA
Mercedes-Benz USA, headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is responsible for the sales, marketing and customer service for all Mercedes-Benz and Maybach products in the United States. MBUSA offers drivers the most diverse line-up in the luxury segment with 12 model lines ranging from the sporty C-Class to the flagship S-Class sedans and CL coupes. More information on MBUSA and its products can be found at www.mbusa.com and www.maybachusa.com.