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Mercedes-Benz’s new generation flagship S-Class, introduced at an elaborate event at Airbus in Finkenwerder, marks a number of technology firsts in numerous areas from comfort, to driver control, to efficiency. As one example of the last, the new S-Class is the first car in the world to completely dispense with conventional electric bulbs, making exclusive use of energy-saving LED technology both inside and outside.
On a larger efficiency scale, the new S-Class in its first year will offer two hybrid versions, a gasoline model and a diesel variant: the S 400 HYBRID, S 300 BlueTEC HYBRID, S 500, and S 350 BlueTEC. The models offer up to 20% lower fuel consumption than the outgoing model series. These soon will be followed by the S 500 Plug-In HYBRID—the first S-Class with a fuel consumption lower than 4l/100 km (59 mpg US). All the engines already meet the requirements of the Euro-6 emissions standard.
S 300 BlueTEC HYBRID. Mercedes-Benz has almost halved fuel consumption in the 150 kW output category within ten years: the S 300 BlueTEC HYBRID has a combined fuel consumption of 4.4 l/100 km (53.5 mpg US) (CO2: 115 g/km).
In the S 300 BlueTEC HYBRID, Mercedes-Benz has combined the 2.2-liter four-cylinder diesel engine developing 150 kW (204 hp) with a hybrid module. Its 15 kW electric motor, positioned between the internal combustion engine and the 7-speed automatic transmission, assists the diesel engine when the car is accelerating (boost effect) and, in alternator mode, is used for the recuperation of braking energy, although it is also suitable for driving under electric power alone.
S 350 BlueTEC. The V6 diesel engine in the S 350 BlueTEC has a displacement of 2987 cc, an output of 190 kW (258 hp) and torque of 620 N·m (457 lb-ft). Its combined fuel consumption of 5.5 or 5.6 litres per 100 kilometers (short/long wheelbase versions) (42.8 or 42 mpg US) makes it the world’s most economical V6 diesel and puts it on a par with the previous four-cylinder S 250 CDI model.
The S 350 BlueTEC has CO2 emissions of 146 or 148 grams per kilometer (short/long wheelbase versions), and it is equipped with the second-generation AdBlue emission-control system.
S 400 HYBRID. With the hybrid model, which combines a V6 gasoline engine with a compact hybrid module and Li-ion battery pack, the Mercedes‑Benz engineers have delivered NEDC (combined) fuel consumption of 6.3 liters per 100 kilometres (37.3 mpg US)—a reduction of 20% compared to the preceding model. The CO2 emissions figure of 147 grams per kilometre is likewise a new record in this vehicle segment.
The gasoline engine develops 225 kW (306 hp) and the electric motor adds another 20 kW. The peak torque is 370 N·m (272 lb-ft). The compact hybrid module is a disc-shaped electric motor that also acts as a starter and generator.
The S 400 HYBRID accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.8 seconds and reaches an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph).
S 500. The V8 biturbo unit in the S 500 has a displacement of 4663 cc and an output of 335 kW (455 hp)—making it more powerful than its 320 kW (435 hp) predecessor. Its peak torque is 700 N·m (516 lb-ft), while NEDC fuel consumption is 8.6 liters per 100 km (27.4 mpg US)—0.7 liters per 100 km lower than its predecessor. CO2 emissions are 199 g/km.
The S 500 sprints from zero to 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds. Its top speed is 250 km/h (electronically limited).
All new S-Class models feature the 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission with DIRECT SELECT lever as standard. The features of this latest version include a new torque converter with reduced slip; an ECO shift mode with a wider ratio spread; and an auxiliary oil pump to maintain the operating pressure during automatic stops. Low-friction components and low-viscosity oil help to reduce the operating pressure.
ECO start/stop function and ECO display. The consumption and emission figures are also due to the ECO start/stop function specified as standard for all S-Class models.
One of the features that assists the driver is the ECO display in the instrument cluster. If required, three bar charts give the driver feedback about the economy of their driving style. The ECO display responds positively if the driver accelerates moderately, drives smoothly in an anticipatory manner and avoids unnecessary braking. The three bar readings stand at 100% if driving is particularly economical according to these criteria. When starting off all the values are at 50%, and a particularly unfavorable driving style causes them to decline. The aim is to arouse a competitive desire in the driver to achieve 100% if possible.
Further efficiency-enhancing measures include aerodynamics; intelligent lightweight construction; second-generation low-rolling-resistance tires; an electronically controlled refrigerant compressor; and the new “ECO Thermo Cover” engine compartment encapsulation in the S 300 BlueTEC HYBRID, which reduces cold-starting losses and consists of insulating partitions in the engine compartment and the radiator shutter, which closes when the engine is stopped.
Suspension with “eyes”. The new S-Class is the first car to be able to detect bumps on the road ahead. If ROAD SURFACE SCAN detects such unevenness by means of the stereo camera, MAGIC BODY CONTROL instantaneously sets up the suspension to deal with the new situation. This innovative suspension system is available as an option for the eight-cylinder models. Standard equipment for the new S-Class includes the continuously operating Adaptive Damping System ADS PLUS and an enhanced version of the full air suspension system AIRMATIC.
3rd-generation aluminum hybrid bodyshell. The bodyshell for the new S-Class is a third-generation aluminium hybrid bodyshell. The lightweight index—the torsional stiffness in relation to weight and vehicle size—has been improved by 50% compared to the predecessor model.
Since the 220 model series was developed in the 1990s, with an optimally coordinated materials mix the hybrid lightweight construction has been further developed into an aluminium hybrid bodyshell. During this period the share of aluminium has increased to more than 50%. Mercedes-Benz has thus maintained practically the same body weight for 20 years—and even slightly reduced it—despite far more stringent comfort and safety requirements and additional functions.
In addition to this, structural foams are used at specific points in node areas in the new model series. The entire outer skin of the S-Class, including the roof and the front section of the body, consists of aluminium. The high percentage of aluminium is possible due to the use of a complete range of semi-finished products (casting, extrusion, sheet metal). The safety passenger cell is made using an extremely high percentage of high-strength steel.
With a torsional stiffness of 40.5 kN/degree (predecessor: 27.5 kN/degree), the S-Class achieves a new record in its segment.
Extended PRE-SAFE protection. The new PRE-SAFE functions can help to prevent collisions with pedestrians and vehicles in front in city traffic, defuse dangerous situations caused by traffic behind and enhance the protection offered by the seat belts.
PRE-SAFE Brake can also detect pedestrians and initiate autonomous braking to avoid a collision at speeds up to 50 km/h (31 mpg US).
PRE-SAFE PLUS can recognize an imminent rear-end collision and warn the following traffic by activating the rear hazard warning lights at a high frequency. If the danger of a collision persists, the system can also firmly apply the stationary vehicle’s brakes and thus minimise the risk of whiplash injuries by reducing the forward jolt caused by the impact. This additionally can reduce the risk of secondary accidents. Immediately before impact, the PRE-SAFE anticipatory occupant protection measures, especially the reversible belt tensioners, are deployed.
With PRE-SAFE Impulse, the driver and front passenger are pulled away from the direction of impact by their seat belts at an early phase of the crash before the resulting occupant deceleration sets in. This can substantially reduce the risk and severity of injuries in a frontal collision.
Intelligent Drive. Mercedes-Benz is deploying numerous new assistance systems and greatly enhanced safety functions in the new S-Class. The new functions all rely on the same sensor system, comprising a new stereo camera together with multistage radar sensors. A key factor is the networking of all systems—i.e., sensor fusion.
The support functions range from relieving the burden on the driver and therefore increasing comfort, to issuing visual, acoustic and/or tactile warning signals, to boosting the driver’s reactions. Some systems are able to take corrective action in an emergency, such as autonomous application of the brakes to prevent an accident or lessen its severity. New assistance systems and those with notably enhanced functionality include:
DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist and Stop&Go Pilot takes the burden off the driver when it comes to lane guidance and is also able to follow vehicles in traffic jams automatically.
For the first time, due to the stereo camera, the Brake Assist system BAS PLUS with Cross-Traffic Assist is able to detect crossing traffic and pedestrians too, and to boost the braking power applied by the driver accordingly.
If the lane markings are broken lines, Active Lane Keeping Assist can detect when the adjacent lane is occupied, especially by oncoming traffic, and reduce the risk of the vehicle leaving its lane unintentionally by applying the brakes on one side.
Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus allows the high-beam headlamps to be kept on permanently without dazzling traffic by masking out other vehicles in the beams’ cone of light.
Night View Assist Plus was further improved and supplemented by a thermal imaging camera. Night View Assist Plus can alert the driver to the potential danger posed by pedestrians or animals in unlit areas in front of the vehicle by automatically switching from the speedometer to a sharp night view image and highlighting the sources of danger. A spotlight function is furthermore able to flash any pedestrians detected ahead. This attracts the driver’s attention to the source of the danger at the same time as warning the person on the side of the road.
ATTENTION ASSIST can warn of inattentiveness and drowsiness in an extended speed range and notify the driver of their current state of fatigue and the driving time since the last break, offers an adjustable sensitivity setting and, if a warning is emitted, indicates nearby service areas in the COMAND navigation system.
Saft has been awarded a contract from Lockheed Martin for delivery of e6T Li-ion battery systems for the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) Program.
The JLTV program will produce a family of vehicles capable of performing multiple mission roles that will be designed to provide protected, sustained, networked mobility for personnel and payloads across the full range of military operations. JLTV objectives include increased protection and performance over the current fleet; minimizing ownership costs by maximizing commonality, fuel efficiency, reliability, and maintaining effective competition throughout the lifecycle.
The Saft e6T Li-ion battery system is designed as an auxiliary power source for military vehicles and features an advanced, lightweight design within the dimensions of a traditional lead-acid battery, enabling easy integration into the vehicle. The system provides power for starting, lights and ignition, as well as for silent watch missions, while also providing critical front-line power to recharge personal electronics like night sights and GPS devices.
The e6T battery system includes electronic devices for performance, thermal, and safety management specific to the application. The Battery module contains 21 Saft 6T Li-ion cells connected in a 3P-7S configuration and one Power Control Module.
The 25.5V battery features CANBus communications technology which relays information such as state-of-charge, cell voltages and temperatures, and battery diagnostics.
Saft will deliver 59 batteries in total to Lockheed Martin for vehicle prototypes scheduled for delivery during the 33-month EMD phase, followed by a final competition after which a production contract will be awarded, around 2015. Lockheed Martin represents one of the three competing development teams. If the Lockheed Martin team is selected, Saft would potentially produce e6T Li-ion batteries for JLTV production to take place over an eight year period.
The EMD-phase contract for Saft calls for delivery of battery systems in 2013. The JLTV program allows Saft to further demonstrate the capabilities of its maintenance-free e6T battery system for military ground vehicles, already being demonstrated in the Improved Battery System program for the Marine Corps.
Chairman LoBiondo, Ranking Member Larsen, and Members of the Subcommittee: A year ago, Congress reauthorized the Federal Aviation Administration after four and a half years of uncertainty and stop-gap measures. The biggest benefit of reauthorization was that it would provide predictability and allow us to invest with greater certainty in the future. So were grateful for your effort on this, and we have been working very diligently in the past year to implement the provisions of reauthorization.
As we move forward, the number one mission of the FAA is safety. That will always be our priority.
In the last few years, Congress has given us much guidance on how to advance aviation safety. And we have accomplished a great deal. The FAA overhauled flight and duty rules to guarantee that airline pilots have the opportunity to get the rest they need to operate safely. And we are raising the required number of hours of experience before a pilot can operate the controls of any airline flight. We are also finalizing a rule that will require more rigorous and training so that flight crews can better handle rare but serious scenarios.
We are also improving our safety culture at the FAA and throughout the industry by voluntarily reporting hazards before they become a problem, and by adopting safety management systems. Internally, we created the Aviation Safety Whistleblower Investigation Office. One of the cornerstones of our safety culture is to ensure that employees can provide information without fear of reprisal.
While we are enhancing the safety of the system that we know today, we are also working to deliver the benefits of new technology to create the aviation system of tomorrow, through NextGen.
We are working to safely integrate Unmanned Aircraft Systems into our airspace. Earlier this year as directed by Congress in the reauthorization we requested proposals to host six sites across the country to test unmanned aircraft systems. This is a matter of significant public interest. We need to better understand operational issues to safely integrate these aircraft into our airspace. We need to explore pilot training and make sure that unmanned aircraft sense and avoid other aircraft. And, if they lose the link to their ground-based pilot, these aircraft need to operate safely.
If we are going to continue to move aviation forward, and remain a world leader, we need to collaborate across the FAA, as well as with other government agencies, and also with industry. Reauthorization asked us to do this, and we have made great strides in collaborative efforts.
Chairman LoBiondo, as you know, Atlantic City is a leader in NextGen research. The William J. Hughes Technical Center plays a key role in fostering NextGen, and we appreciate your support.
We have worked with our labor unions, industry, airports and others to address the problem of congested airspace over busy metropolitan areas. We are producing satellite-based procedures much more quickly. And were using these NextGen procedures right now to reduce the miles that aircraft must fly; to create more direct routes, cut delays; and to reduce fuel burn and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
We are pleased that the President has announced his intent to appoint Michael Whitaker as Deputy Administrator of the FAA. Mr. Whitaker is a veteran of the airline industry and would serve as the FAAs Chief NextGen Officer, responsible for fostering the transformation of our nations airspace.
The FAA has an initial set of NextGen metrics available on our website, and we expect to publish additional performance metrics in the coming months. Our NextGen Performance Snapshots show that NextGen is happening now.
For example in Chicago, we have been able to reduce delays at OHare International Airport in bad weather thanks to NextGen. OHare and nearby Midway International have overlapping airspace at times. We made better use of this congested airspace in the past two years with a satellite-based procedure that aircraft use when flying into Midway. This procedure has allowed OHare to improve its arrival rate by eight to 12 aircraft per hour when its rainy or foggy and the ceilings are low. And aircraft flying into Midway travel fewer miles and save fuel. This is one of the many positive effects of NextGen and the type of improvement that reauthorization supports.
The reauthorization laid out a vision to address the future needs of our nations aviation system. And these needs have not gone away. Its important for us to work together to protect the great contribution that civil aviation makes to our economy of $1.3 trillion and 10 million jobs.
As you know, we are again facing fiscal uncertainty and unpredictability. The sequester is requiring the FAA to make sizeable budget cuts that affect our operations and our future. While we are grateful that Congress found a temporary solution to the FAA furloughs, this stop-gap measure does not end the sequester.
We will not enjoy the benefits or the stability that reauthorization provides until we end the sequester and find a sensible long-term solution.
I sincerely hope that we can work together to ensure that America continues to operate the safest and most efficient aviation system in the world.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my prepared remarks. I would be pleased to answer any questions you may have.
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected the US Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) to lead an industry-wide effort to accelerate development of high-efficiency, cost-effective battery technologies for electric vehicles.
USABC, managed by Chrysler Group, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors, will solicit, fund, and manage cooperative research and development projects to improve next-generation advanced energy storage technologies for vehicles. Selected through a competitive solicitation, USABC will receive $12.5 million annually over five years, subject to congressional appropriations. The DOE investment will be matched with cost-share funding from the private sector.
As part of the initiative, the consortium will engage US battery and component manufacturers, universities, and the national laboratories to coordinate research on advanced energy storage technologies for hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and all-electric vehicles.
This initiative supports the DOE’s EV Everywhere Challenge (earlier post), a national effort aimed at making electric vehicles more affordable and convenient for the average American family by specifically targeting dramatic technological and cost improvements in batteries, electric motors, power electronics, light-weight structures, and fast charging technology.