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Hybrid, electrical & the new mercedes benz

WITH THE recent interest in electric cars and hybrids in Zimbabwe, it is important to look into what that future looks like or what options are actually available. Different energy solutions are being explored in the country to tackle the demands of our various activities, and so are people looking into fuel alternatives for their vehicles. Hybrids are a bit more visible on our roads, but what are they really? A hybrid vehicle uses two or more distinct types of power, such as internal combustion engine to drive an electric generator that powers an electric motor, e.g. in diesel-electric trains using diesel engines to drive an electric generator that powers an electric motor, and submarines that use diesels when surfaced and batteries when submerged.

The basic principle with hybrid vehicles is that the different motors work better at different speeds; the electric motor is more efficient at producing torque, or turning power, and the combustion engine is better for maintaining high speed (better than typical electric motor). Switching from one to the other at the proper time while speeding up yields a win-win in terms of energy efficiency, as such that translates into greater fuel efficiency, for example. Even with power woes, however, a few have gotten on to the electric vehicle wagon.

We want to look at Mercedes Benz’s new drive towards the creation of a whole range of electric vehicles, starting with the Mercedes Benz EQ. Mercedes-Benz EQ is an upcoming series of battery electric vehicles to be manufactured by Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes-Benz intends to produce ten EQ models by 2022, three of which will have the Smart brand, representing between 15% and 25% of the company’s global sales. All of Mercedes-Benz electric vehicle design and production efforts will target the EQ family.

The Mercedes-Benz EQC (N293), the first they have produced, is a fully-electric compact luxury SUV. While the EQC will run predominantly in front-wheel drive mode, the rear electric motor is called to serve when extra performance is needed by flooring the throttle. The EQC 400 is packed with oodles of recycled materials (up to 100 components made from recycled and sustainable raw materials are used in every EQC 400 depending on options), and has ability to drive around 350km (based on the European WLTP cycle) with zero tailpipe emissions.

The EQC is based on the GLC and shares the same wheelbase dimensions. It is a five seater vehicle and has a trunk capacity of 500 litres. The EQC400 4MATIC is powered by 2 asynchronous electric motors, fitted on the front and rear axles, and produces 300 kW (402 hp). It has an electronically limited top speed of 180 km/h (112 mph). The 80 kWh battery pack has a modular design and consists of 384 lithium-ion cells. It can be charged from 10 to 80 percent in 40 minutes, via a DC fast charger. Steering wheel paddle shifters allow for the selection of varying levels of brake energy regeneration.

Regenerative braking is an energy recovery mechanism that slows a vehicle or object by converting its kinetic energy into a form that can be either used immediately or stored until needed. In this mechanism, the electric motor uses the vehicle’s momentum to recover energy that would be otherwise lost to the brake discs as heat. This contrasts with conventional braking systems, where the excess kinetic energy is converted to unwanted and wasted heat by friction in the brakes, or with dynamic brakes, where energy is recovered by using electric motors as generators but is immediately dissipated as heat in resistors.

In addition to improving the overall efficiency of the vehicle, regeneration can greatly extend the life of the braking system as its parts do not wear as quickly.

EQUIPMENT Standard equipment includes 19-inch alloy wheels, automatic collision avoidance, and two 10.25-inch interior displays for the instrument cluster and infotainment system. All models feature the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) system, which features a voice-controlled smart-assistant that can be activated by saying “Hey Mercedes”. It can display charging information and energy consumption figures. The navigation system can also suggest routes that include charging stationsdepending on the remaining charge of the battery. FASTER CHARGING AT

THE WALLBOX The Mercedes-Benz Wallbox Home is a charging station with a fixed charging cable about six metres long and has a maximum charging capability of up to 22 kW. It allows battery-electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids from Mercedes-Benz to be charged many times faster than would be possible at a conventional domestic socket. The charging cable is locked during the charging process so that the connection cannot be interrupted, while an LED on the Wallbox indicates the charging procedure status. Access authorisation is controlled via a key-operated switch.


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