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article imageMercedes-Benz will launch the first hybrid with lithium ion batteries

By Chris V. Thangham     Feb 29, 2008 in Environment
Mercedes-Benz says it has created a breakthrough in car battery technology: It will become the first car company to use Lithium-ion batteries. Currently most cars use nickel-metal hydride batteries.
Lithium-ion batteries are more efficient than nickel-metal hydride batteries. When used in a car, Mercedes-Benz says it can save charges and distribute power more efficiently. Lithium-ion batteries are also less than half the weight of nickel-metal hydride batteries, so the weight of the car can be reduced, making it more fuel efficient. In the past, the main problem with Lithium ion batteries in cars was the fact they overheated.
Mercedes-Benz said they have overcome this problem with more than 25 patents. The company says it has made lithium-ion batteries suitable for cars. The battery system will be integrated into the car’s climate control system, maintaining battery temperature between 60 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Mercedes-Benz says this temperature range means their lithium-ion batteries perform well and have a long life.
Mercedes-Benz will use lithium ion batteries in its S400 BlueHybrid first. The vehicle launches in 2009. Unveiled at the 2007 Frankfurt auto show, the S400 has a 3.5-liter V-6 diesel engine complemented with the hybrid system. Mercedes-Benz claims the S400 will get 30 miles per gallon (shown in the picture) and a 0 to 62 mph time of 7.3 seconds. The vehicle has 300 horsepower.
Mining nickel is usually associated with sulfur ore, which often leads to pollution problems (sulfuric acid affects local fauna) so if mining lithium is a better environmental choice, this move is great.
In the future we can expect more environmentally safe batteries that are far more efficient. Coupled with solar- and wind-powered technologies, we will also likely see more innovation with hybrids.
More about Mercedes-benz, Hybrid, Lithium ion batteries
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